As the returning champion Kansas City Chiefs and hometown favorite Tampa Bay Buccaneers gear up for the big game, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and its partners are finalizing planning and coordination to ensure the Super Bowl LV is a safe and secure event; a task they have been engaged in for more than a year.
HSI personnel will be on the front lines of the interagency effort to mitigate the threat posed by criminal organizations seeking to exploit and profit from criminal activity conducted in and around the Super Bowl - from the identification and seizure of counterfeit goods to enhanced efforts to counter human trafficking.
Intellectual property crime is the illicit importation, manufacture, and sale of counterfeit goods and pirated content that violate the copyrights and trademarks of rights holders. An HSI-led team is spearheading the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), which includes many federal and international partners.
Operation Team Player, a central component of HSI’s IP enforcement operations, is an ongoing effort developed by the IPR Center to crack down on the illegal importation of counterfeit sports apparel and merchandise. Throughout the year, personnel supporting Operation Team Player have worked to identify warehouses, stores, flea markets, online marketplaces and street vendors selling counterfeit and game-related sportswear and tickets throughout the country. The IPR Center leads coordinated efforts with many of the United States’ major sporting leagues to target contraband that negatively impacts the economy, restricts the competitiveness of U.S. products in the global market, and poses health and safety hazards to the public.
HSI agents will also be conducting essential public outreach and victim support in the global battle against human trafficking during Super Bowl week. Partnering with federal, state and local law enforcement, private industry, and non-governmental organizations to provide education to the public and key industries in Tampa – such as hospitality, hotels, and transportation – on recognizing indicators of human trafficking.
As a global leader in the investigation of criminal organizations that commit and facilitate human trafficking, HSI is also working with its public and private sector counterparts to identify and target human traffickers operating in the Tampa Bay area, launch investigations and enforcement operations to prevent their illicit activity, and identify and rescue potential trafficking victims.
HSI is committed to ensuring that everyone who has come to Tampa Bay to enjoy the Super Bowl has done so of their own free will, and that those individuals and organizations involved in human trafficking and sexual exploitation networks are held accountable for their crimes.
More information about HSI and its roles and missions can be found at ice.gov/hsi.
HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s performs its critical mission in 220 offices throughout the United States and in 80 locations in 53 countries around the world.