PHILADELPHIA — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia announced Wednesday a newly-formed task force to combat human trafficking in the Philadelphia-area.
The newly formed Philadelphia anti-trafficking task force has been awarded a grant by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the U.S. Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime to combat both labor and sex trafficking in the region.
The task force is designed to bring together the expertise, training, experience, and law enforcement authorities of the partnered agencies to help identify human traffickers, and prosecute them while also protecting and aiding survivors.
The multiagency Anti-Trafficking Coalition consists of:
- HSI Philadelphia
- FBI Philadelphia
- Philadelphia District Attorney's Office
- Philadelphia Police Department
- The Salvation Army
- United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District Pennsylvania
Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world today and occurs when a person is recruited, harbored, obtained or exported through force, fraud or coercion for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, involuntary servitude, debt bondage and other methods of slavery.
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, the Department of Homeland Security, through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, initiated 1,029 human trafficking cases, resulting in 1,952 criminal arrests and 631 convictions, and identified 435 victims of human trafficking.
HSI had more than 8,000 contacts with other law enforcement, non-governmental, and community organizations concerning human trafficking within the United States during the same period.
The public is encouraged to report suspicious activity and suspected human trafficking to the HSI Human Trafficking Task Force through ICE's 24 hour tip line, by calling 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. For more information on this topic, please visit the Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign website at www.dhs.gov/end-human-trafficking.