ICE: Thousands of Human Trafficking Arrests Made in 2016

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In 2016, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) detained 1,952 individuals for human trafficking for “purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation.”

ICE has issued a news release which states that out of nearly 2,000 arrests made, more than 400 were trafficking victims who had been identified and were offered critical services.

The document, posted on January 23, 2017, reads:

“HSI special agents work tirelessly to disrupt criminal trafficking networks, and just as importantly, to assist the victims of this terrible crime,” said Acting ICE Director Daniel H. Ragsdale. “ICE will continue to work with our counterparts at home and abroad to educate the public to recognize signs of trafficking and provide the crucial services needed to aid in the recovery of those impacted by this heinous act.”

Since 2010, January has been recognized as National Slavery and Trafficking Prevention month.

ICE regularly organizes events throughout the month, in particular, and year to spread awareness about human trafficking, in order to educate individuals on how to spot suspicious signs to help identify human traffickers and victims.

As a result of their efforts over the past seven years, HSI claims that over 7,000 individuals have been arrested for human trafficking offenses.

The site also provided a few examples of HSI human trafficking cases:

  • HSI San Antonio was contacted by the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) about two human trafficking victims. The victims said they came to the U.S. as domestic workers for an officer in a foreign military, but had not been paid for their services, and were not being provided sufficient food to eat. They added that their employer was in possession of their passports and refused to return them. The victims had also been refused medical care. The perpetrators were indicted on violations 18 USC 1589-Forced Labor- and pled guilty to Visa Fraud and Misprision of a Felony, agreed to pay restitution of $60,000 to each victim, and accepted Judicial Removal.

  • HSI Phoenix initiated a human trafficking investigation which identified a sex trafficking organization using Thai females posting as escorts in the Phoenix metropolitan area. HSI Agents and DPS Detectives executed search warrants at multiple brothel locations. Based on the information provided by the victims, it is estimated these traffickers earned a combined $1,248,000 a year. Victims were placed with an HSI-partnered non-governmental organization (NGO) to help facilitate recovery, housing and transitioning back into society.

  • HSI Columbus conducted an investigation into a father and son who together trafficked a 17-year old female victim, but separately and on different occasions also trafficked adult victims between Ohio, Kentucky, and Florida. The father often wore a military uniform when he traveled to gain the trust of new girls he was trying to recruit to work for him. The two were sentenced to a combined 282 months in prison.

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