Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is working with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to provide essential public safety measures in and around the Los Angeles area. Measures include, but are not limited to, investigating human trafficking and intellectual property rights violations. The goal is to help address criminal threats the public, the National Football League, and the city of Inglewood may face leading up to and throughout Super Bowl LVI week, between Feb. 6-13.
“Homeland Security Investigations will target human traffickers, those selling fake merchandise and anyone else threatening public safety,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Eddy Wang. “HSI, in cooperation with Inglewood Police and our other partners, will be out in full force at hotels, swap meets, pop-up stands, and other locations where this illegal activity takes place.”
As the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams gear up for the big game, HSI and its partners are coordinating to ensure Super Bowl LVI is a safe and secure event. For HSI Los Angeles, these preparations started over a year ago, when the office first began working alongside its partners and the NFL to support counterfeit merchandise investigations and counter human trafficking operations.
HSI prioritizes victimization crimes, investigating and arresting those exploiting children, conducting human trafficking, and identifying and rescuing victims of these crimes. HSI will carry out this critical mission in the Los Angeles area throughout Super Bowl week and ensure the people and organizations involved in human trafficking and sexual exploitation networks are held accountable.
HSI Los Angeles and its partners provide essential public outreach and victim support in the worldwide battle against human trafficking. Paramount to this mission is educating the public and key industries in Los Angeles – such as hospitality, hotels, and transportation – on how to recognize indicators of human trafficking in their communities and help dispel the myths about who can be a victim of this terrible crime. Last year, in the Los Angeles area alone, HSI agents rescued the equivalent of one victim every month.
Additionally, HSI is a critical player in preventing intellectual property (IP) crime and actively investigates the illicit importation, manufacture, and sale of counterfeit goods and pirated content that violates the copyrights and trademarks of rights holders. This effort is spearheaded by the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), including multiple federal and international partners.
Operation Team Player, a central component of HSI’s IP enforcement operations, is an ongoing effort developed by the IPR Center to crack down on the illegal importation of counterfeit sports apparel and merchandise. Throughout the year, personnel supporting Operation Team Player have worked to identify warehouses, stores, flea markets, online marketplaces, and street vendors selling counterfeit game-related sportswear and tickets throughout the United States. In the 10-day period leading up to last year’s game, HSI was responsible for over 16,000 counterfeit items seized with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $60 Million.
The IPR Center leads coordinated efforts with many of the United States’ major sporting leagues to target contraband that negatively impacts the economy, restricts the competitiveness of U.S. products in the global market, and poses health and safety hazards to the public. Anyone with information about this kind of activity can report it at IPRCenter.gov.