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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

TOP STORY: Center targets smuggling and trafficking organizations

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HSTC logo
The Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center's (HSTC) reach is vast. This past spring, the Center played an integral role in an INTERPOL-sponsored anti-human trafficking initiative in Accra, Ghana, called Operation Bia II. This operation resulted in the rescue of 116 children, all of whom were forced to work in the country's fishing industry, as well as the arrest of 28 traffickers. During the operation, HSTC personnel provided human trafficking training and essential support to Ghanaian law enforcement officers.

The HSTC's role in operations like Bia II is not uncommon. A standard day at the Center includes identifying human smugglers and traffickers, highlighting smuggling routes, providing federal agencies with information on fraudulent immigration and travel documents, and supporting law enforcement investigations with intelligence analysis.

The Center is staffed by representatives from a variety of federal agencies and serves as a clearinghouse for all information related to human smuggling and trafficking. Center personnel are subject matter experts in intelligence analysis, law enforcement collaboration and support, and diplomacy. They work together to convert data into useful information that law enforcement agencies, both foreign and domestic, can use in operations like Bia II.

"The HSTC facilitates broad dissemination of all-source information, prepares strategic assessments, identifies issues for possible enhanced interagency coordination, participates in select initiatives, provides international human smuggling and trafficking training, and serves as a point of contact for foreign authorities," said Scott Hatfield, HSTC director.

The Center was established as part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevent Act of 2004.

Learn more about HSTC's role in combatting human trafficking.