#Pittsburgh, #US; #OperationTEN; #ICE; HSI; FBI
Pittsburgh, Jul 24 (Canadian-Media): The creation of a new anti-human trafficking coalition, Operation T.E.N. (Trafficking Ends Now), comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies as well as non-governmental organizations was announced on July 22 by United States Attorney for Western District of Pennsylvania, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Pittsburgh, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Pittsburgh.
Operation T.E.N. Facebook Official
Operation T.E.N., an umbrella coalition for the 25 counties in the Western District of Pennsylvania, is a coordinated effort to ending human trafficking through education, improving cooperation among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
“Human trafficking is a corrosive and degrading practice that goes against both the rule of law and the most basic standards of human dignity...Operation T.E.N. Coalition, dedicated to ending human trafficking by promoting partnerships with private and public entities,” said David Abbate, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for HSI Pittsburgh in news release. “We are confident...with our victim-centric approach to investigations...and prosecution of suspects.”
“Human trafficking is an affront to human dignity,” said U.S. Attorney Brady in news release. “It is a form of modern-day slavery that knows no race, gender, age or border. Operation T.E.N.’s collaborative approach...ensure that survivors can more easily and directly access the services they need for a healthy, safe recovery.”
“The FBI depends on our partnerships to help us protect communities,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman in news release. “We will work with our partners at every level to take those responsible for this heinous crime off our streets. It’s our priority to identify and recover child victims of human trafficking. They are some of the most vulnerable members of our community who have been physically and emotionally abused and don’t see a way out. We want them to know there is a way to start rebuilding their lives and human trafficking will not be tolerated.”
While human trafficking can occur in a variety of scenarios and industries, indicators of trafficking activities often look the same across most cases.
Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying a victim and can help save a life. It is often a hidden crime, and victims may be afraid to come forward and get help. It is vital that ICE continue to spread the word and educate the public to be aware of the signs so that victims can be identified, and traffickers brought to justice.
In fiscal year 2019, HSI arrested 2,197 individuals in connection with human trafficking. From those cases, more than 400 trafficking victims were identified and offered critical assistance. The top five locations for human trafficking criminal arrests by ICE were Los Angeles (344), Houston (205), Atlanta (130), Charlotte (125), and Phoenix (124).
Specialists with the agency’s Victim Assistance Program assess a victim’s needs and work with law enforcement to integrate victim assistance considerations throughout a criminal investigation. HSI can also assist a victim in getting a short-term immigration relief called Continued Presence, which is available only upon request by law enforcement. In the absence of other resources, DHS has an emergency assistance fund which is available for emergency victim assistance needs.
Bystanders play a unique role in identifying and preventing this crime. If you notice suspicious activity, please contact ICE through its tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or ice.gov/tips.