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DOJ Press Release letterhead

Tuesday, October 3, 2006
Phone: (202) 514-2007
TTY: (202) 514-1888


National Conference Focuses On Victim Issues And Law Enforcement Solutions

            NEW ORLEANS Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today announced additional funding, totaling nearly $8 million, for law enforcement agencies and service organizations for the purpose of identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking and apprehending and prosecuting those engaged in trafficking offenses. The funding announced today will be used to create new Trafficking Task Forces in 10 cities around the country, building on the current work of over 32 national task forces working as part of a collaborative effort among various Department of Justice components, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Labor and State, and national and community-based organizations to combat human trafficking.

            Today's announcement was made at the 2006 National Conference on Human Trafficking in New Orleans, where representatives from federal, state and local organizations have gathered to discuss methods of investigating human trafficking and servitude and how victim services are structured and defined.

            "Human trafficking is a violation of the human body, mind and spirit. For this vile practice to be taking place in a country that the world looks to as a beacon of freedom is a terrible irony and an utter tragedy," said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. "This funding will help cement partnerships between law enforcement agencies and victims' services organizations, and enable the Trafficking Task Forces' work of identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking as well as apprehending and prosecuting the perpetrators of these unconscionable crimes."

            Increasing and prosecuting human trafficking has been a major priority of the Department of Justice. Under the direction of the Attorney General, the U.S. Attorneys and the Civil Rights Division have taken the lead in prosecuting human trafficking cases at the federal level. In fiscal year 2006, the Civil Rights Division, working with the various U.S. Attorneys' offices, initiated 167 investigations, charged 111 defendants in 32 cases and obtained 79 convictions involving human trafficking defendants which reflected more than a twofold increase in convictions over the previous year. In April 2006, the Department of Justice obtained two of the longest sentences ever imposed in a sex trafficking case—50 years each for two defendants in New Jersey.

            From fiscal years 2001 to 2005, as compared to fiscal years 1996 to 2000, the Justice Department's trafficking investigations have quadrupled, the number of defendants charged has tripled, and the number of defendants convicted has doubled.

            Justice Department prosecutors are also supporting the President's Initiative Against Trafficking and Child Sex Tourism by performing assessments of anti-trafficking activities in targeted countries and making recommendations on program development. For example, prosecutors have worked with their Mexican counterparts to undertake joint investigations, to conduct training for police and prosecutors, and to assist Mexican policymakers in developing anti-trafficking legislation in that country.

            Including the new funding announced this morning, the Department of Justice now supports 42 victim-centered law enforcement task forces located throughout the United States including Alaska, Hawaii, and in American Samoa and the Northern Marianas. These task forces are collaborations among U.S. Attorneys, law enforcement, and victim service agencies. Their activities focus on increasing the identification and rescue of trafficking victims through proactive law enforcement, which includes designing a protocol response to the identification of victim services, provision of services, investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases.

Recipients of the 2006 law enforcement awards are:
  • The City of Clearwater
    Clearwater, Fla.             $450,000

  • Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement
    Baton Rouge, La.             $450,000

  • City of Independence
    Independence, Mo.             $450,000

  • Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
    Las Vegas, Nev.             $369,572

  • Erie County
    Buffalo, N.Y.             $450,000

  • Northern Mariana Department of Public Safety
    Saipan, Northern Marianas             $448,083

  • City of Fort Worth
    Fort Worth, Texas             $450,000

  • Dallas Police Department
    Dallas, Texas             $450,000

  • Bexar County Sheriff Office
    San Antonio, Texas             $406,862

  • Salt Lake City
    Salt Lake City, Utah             $450,000

Recipients of the 2006 Awards for victim services are:
  • Tides Center
    San Francisco, Calif.             $450,000
    (For work in Utah)

  • World Relief Corporation
    Baltimore, Md.             $450,000
    (For work in Clearwater, Fla.)

  • Hope House Inc.
    Lee's Summit, Mo.             $450,000

  • The Salvation Army
    Las Vegas, Nev.             $449,997

  • International Institute of Buffalo, N.Y. Inc.
    Buffalo, N.Y.             $449, 708

  • Karidat Social Services
    Saipan, Northern Marianas             $449, 793

  • Mosaic Family Services Inc.
    Dallas, Texas

  • ( For work in Dallas/Ft.Worth, Texas)             $449,996

  • Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of San Antonio Inc.
    San Antonio, Texas             $450,000

            The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. More information about OJP's work on human trafficking can be found at More information about the efforts of the Civil Rights Division can be found at