Los Angeles: Los Angeles City, County, and Federal officials assembled today in front of the Federal Court House downtown to proclaim National Human Trafficking Awareness Day . The proclamation was sponsored by Councilmen Tony Cardenas and Eric Garcetti, who introduced Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
"Human trafficking is the modern-day slavery," said Police Chief William Bratton. "That is why the LAPD is a part of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Human Trafficking Task Force."
The task force was formed after the region received a $450,000 federal grant for the purposes of training police officers how to better recognize signs of human trafficking in their day-to-day duties. It is composed of sixty members from federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies.
"The alliance between law enforcement and community organizations is a proven opportunity to provide comprehensive support for victims of trafficking," said Kay Buck, executive director of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking. "Working with LAPD, the US Attorney’s Office, and the more than 60 task force members ensures that traffickers are held accountable and victims receive the assistance they need."
The task force has already designed training and produced a video presentation for officers. Lesson plans have been distributed across the county. The LAPD has trained 8,000 of its officers since inception.
Parts of the grant have been used to make the community aware through billboards, a website, and other media outreach efforts.
A tipster hotline was also established for the public to report any concerns of human trafficking. It is 800-655-4095. Human trafficking differs from smuggling in the following ways:
•Persons are victims
•No requirement to cross international borders
•Must have an element of force, fraud, or coercion
•Violation of international borders
•Smuggled person is generally willing participant
•Person is free to leave, change jobs