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Monday, June 6, 2011

Cal EMA News Blog

Cal EMA News Blog

Local, State and Federal Officials Take New Steps to Strengthen Fight Against Human Trafficking

Posted: 06 Jun 2011 04:54 PM PDT

*The following news release was issued by Cal EMA on Monday, June 6, 2011.*

MATHER, Calif. – They are trapped in lives of misery-often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take grueling jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay.  These are modern-day slaves and it takes a team of law enforcement, prosecutors and non-profit groups to combat a growing crime pinned “human trafficking.”  Today, the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) assembled key state and federal agencies alongside non-governmental organizations to share information and form new partnerships to combat this growing crime.

“This is a crime against many of the most vulnerable silent victims who have no way out,” said Mike Dayton, Acting Secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency.  “The better understanding and collaboration that takes place between all these agencies, the more effective our overall effort is to end the suffering of those trapped and victimized,” said Dayton.

Leaders from the United States Attorney’s Offices (Eastern, Northern, Southern and Central Districts), Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement joined with members of human trafficking task forces from throughout California to share best practices for combating human trafficking and learn about the latest efforts to build upon existing collaborative efforts.

“The event here today, by its broad participation by multiple federal, state and local agencies, is representative of the kind of collaboration that is really necessary in this area to make a serious dent in human trafficking,” said Benjamin B. Wagner, US Attorney of the Eastern District of California. “This is a deep and spreading problem that can only be attacked by the collaboration of the agencies who are here today.”

“We really had no task force presence 30 years ago, but look where we are today,” said Herbert Brown, Special Agent in Charge of Sacramento’s FBI Office. “I strongly believe the only way we’ll have success in combating human trafficking is to maintain this type of fusion between agencies.”

Front-line law enforcement officials from human trafficking task forces in San Diego’s North County Region, San Francisco, Riverside and San Jose shared information on the latest cases they’re working.

In an effort to develop new partnerships between fusion centers and the human trafficking task forces, leaders of California’s State Threat Assessment Center and Sacramento’s Regional Threat Assessment Center provided key insights on state and local efforts to provide effective intelligence information to uncover the often-unseen crime.

Because human trafficking is often an international crime, those attending also heard the latest research and information from The Council of State Government – West, and the North American Center for Transborder Studies at Arizona State University.

The California Emergency Management Agency has provided $375,000 grants for a three year period, for victim services, operations, and prosecution to each of the six (6) task forces and their NGOs in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Westminster (Orange County), and San Diego. Cal EMA also provided $500,000 in funding for the development of three additional task forces in Sacramento, Fresno, and Riverside. To help local jurisdictions keep up with the latest trends, Cal EMA provided a $1.2 million grant to the Westminster Human Trafficking Task Force to train law enforcement and district attorneys on identifying child victims of human trafficking.

Over 100 participants attended Monday’s meeting at the California Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters in Rancho Cordova.

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