Government Agency News ICE breaking news
SAN DIEGO — Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego, the FBI’s San Diego Field Office and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force, in partnership with state and local agencies, identified and located 15 victims of sex trafficking during Operation Cross Country, a nationwide enforcement campaign.
“HSI, along with our law enforcement partners and community advocates, identified and rescued over a dozen victims of sex trafficking,” said HSI San Diego Special Agent in Charge Chad Plantz. “Operations like these demonstrate the life-changing impact to our most vulnerable population. When law enforcement personnel and community partners collaborate toward a common goal, everyone wins.”
The nationwide initiative, in partnership with the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, focused on identifying and locating sex trafficking victims. It also focused on investigating people and criminal enterprises involved in child sex and human trafficking. Law enforcement agencies conducted targeted operations to identify and apprehend offenders, dismantling criminal networks and preventing further harm to victims. Identified suspects will be subject to additional investigation for potential charges.
Locally, HSI and FBI agents and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force worked with the following law enforcement partners:
- San Diego Police Department
- San Diego Sheriff’s Department
- National City Police Department
- Naval Criminal Investigative Service
- U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California
- Internal Revenue Service
- California Department of Justice
- San Diego District Attorney’s Office
- San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
- Riverside Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
- Child Welfare Services
- Advocacy Partners
During the two-week operation, authorities located 15 victims, including two minors, and referred them for victim services. They also arrested four people suspected of human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children.
The operation included an outreach day, where members of the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force engaged with key community stakeholders and law enforcement agencies to help people spot the signs of human trafficking.
HSI remains steadfast in its commitment to combating child exploitation and human trafficking. Working with law enforcement agencies in Operation Cross Country is just one facet of HSI’s ongoing efforts to protect the most vulnerable members of society and hold offenders accountable.
HSI encourages the public to help identify and recover victims and bring perpetrators to justice.
HSI special agents utilize their broad range of authority and international footprint to identify, investigate and disrupt domestic and transnational criminal organizations engaged in human trafficking. Further, HSI special agents work closely with the HSI’s Victim Assistance Program to ensure that human trafficking and child exploitation victims are afforded their rights and have access to the services to which they are entitled by law.
Members of the community can report crimes, suspicious activity and suspected human trafficking to the HSI Tipline at 866-347-2423. You may also contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-THE-LOST to report suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children, or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 to connect human trafficking victims and survivors with critical support and services.
HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
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