The Department of Justice today joined the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) and federal and local law enforcement officials at a roundtable to discuss the challenges posed by human traffickers. The meeting was held following the launch of FLETC’s Human Trafficking Awareness Training last week.
Bill Woolf, Senior Advisor for Human Trafficking in the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), participated in the event along with Tania Groover, Assistant U.S. Attorney and Human Trafficking Coordinator for the Southern District of Georgia, and Kai Munshi, FLETC’s Chief of Security and Professional Responsibility.
“Human trafficking is a sophisticated and obscenely profitable global enterprise, and combating it demands the full coordination of law enforcement agencies at all levels,” said OJP’s Woolf. “The Department of Justice is very pleased and proud to lend its support to the brave men and women here in southeastern Georgia — and throughout the country — who pursue trafficking perpetrators and bring aid to trafficking victims.”
The roundtable convened law enforcement leaders from Glynn County and the City of Brunswick, as well as officials from the enforcement units of the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. They and their counterparts from across the nation are among the first to take part in FLETC’s human trafficking training program. The training was piloted in May and is now part of the permanent training catalog.
“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, subjecting individuals to involuntary servitude for the profit of others,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine of the Southern District of Georgia. “Building awareness of these fast-growing criminal enterprises will help in the fight to eradicate human trafficking, and our office will vigorously prosecute those who would illegally exploit victims of this despicable trade.”
“Educating our first responders about human trafficking is a shared responsibility, and FLETC is committed to doing its part,” said FLETC Director Thomas J. Walters.
Woolf and Munshi also took part in an event organized by the Georgia Human Trafficking Initiative titled “Prisoners of Darkness.” The program brought together about 400 advocates and concerned citizens from the Golden Isles region to raise awareness of human trafficking. Prosecutions led by the Southern District of Georgia’s Human Trafficking Task Force, spearheaded by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, have freed at least 39 human trafficking victims.
In November 2019, Department of Justice officials, including Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Claire Murray and OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, joined Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp in announcing $4.3 million in grants to help officials in Georgia investigate and prosecute human traffickers and serve trafficking survivors. The Department of Justice, through OJP, awarded more than $100 million in fiscal year 2019 grants to agencies and organizations across the United States to combat human trafficking and provide vital services to victims. More funding is available this year, including up to $13.5 million to provide housing for human trafficking survivors.