tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN February 2, 2018 11:01am-1:02pm EST
this conference including attorney general jeff sessions and dhs secretary nielsen who will speak life later this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. all of this will be at tonight starting eight eastern on c-span. >> welcome back. if we can come and take our seats. i hope you found the coffee downstairs as delightful as i do on a daily basis. welcome back. welcome back. ladies and gentlemen, i am joined -- but very annoying sound. but beyond that i'm here with
richard downing the acting deputy assistant attorney general for the criminal division here at the department of justice and he is going to introduce our next speaker, abuse attorney for for the district of minnesota. >> thanks very much, and thank you very much for the invitation to be part of this next session. we are very lucky to have greg brooker, the key feature of any introduction is to know -- gregory brooker, u.s. attorney and the head prosecutor for the district of minnesota. minnesota has been a key part of the department of justice efforts at a hope we can build on the work of the last panel and give you some very specific and useful information about all the truth of what they are doing there. greg has been a longtime prosecutor and has served for over a year now as the head prosecutor in minnesota as the
united states attorney, minnesota also as we heard one of the districts that features an active team focused on human trafficking problem in the district. and so that further ado, i would like to turn it over to use attorney brooker. >> thank you. [applause] >> so thank you for having me today it was seven below zero in minneapolis. it's a little warmer outside here. thank you, richard, for the introduction. and thank you all for participating in this important summit. sponsored by the associate general, attorney general. i'm pleased to to talk about an issue that my office, the u.s. attorney's office for the district of minnesota, is deeply committed to, that's the department of justice has played such -- place such a priority on, prosecuting human trafficking. it's hardly that the summit comes at the end of human trafficking awareness month, and
two days away from a super bowl in my home state of minnesota. i'd like to take this opportunity to highlight trends in prosecutions in my federal district, as well as discuss some of the proactive work that is being done by minnesotans in preparation for that super bowl on sunday. as we all know in this room sex trafficking is a market driven enterprise, and empirical data show that major sporting events like a super bowl can bring about increased in an line sex ads on craigslist, back page.com, and other websites. we also know from recent research studies that commercial sex is not confined to one demographic group.
according to a recent survey of 750 men in minnesota, most sex buyers are men between the ages of 30-60, more than 70% are white, and half are married. nearly 70% have kids, and almost half make the $2000 or more a year. a recent -- $50,000. -- a report concludes high profile if it's with large like the super bowl can be attractive targets for sex traffickers. in preparation for the super bowl in minneapolis and anti-sex trafficking team of representatives from over 40 organizations was created to map out strategies to crack down on sex trafficking from all angles
across the entire state. the team is led by a local da, judge lloyd, and hennepin county where minneapolis lies. and our office, u.s. attorney's office is a vital player in that team. the team also include some important nonprofit organization such as the carlton family foundation, and the women's foundation in minnesota, long involved in these issues. the team as an engine has representatives from nonprofits, hospitals, by the businesses, and law enforcement throughout the state, and has been supported by the national football league. so what has this team been up to the last 19 months? we have developed a plan that includes additional emergency shelter beds, increased street outreach, and hotline to report
trafficking related tips to law enforcement. we created a 24 hour fully staffed hotline to ensure victims can immediately find safe shelter, work with governmental entities to relax zoning requirements during the timeframe of the super bowl to ensure that no victim will be denied space in a very cold month in minnesota. what's especially unique, however, about this particular team is that it not only brought together private and public stakeholders, but also key voices of sex trafficking survivors. the team also designed multiple public awareness campaigns, specifically for the super bowl, including that don't buy it campaign designed to educate men and boys about sex trafficking.
this part of the campaign, of course, focuses on the demand side. here's a short clip of the don't buy it public service announcement now running out in minnesota and online. >> he told me he loved me, that i only had to strip for a little while and we would start a new life together. don't buy it. >> guys act like being a real men means dominating women. don't buy it. >> patricia loves it and is making a lot of money. don't buy it. >> they changed my name. i was thousands of miles away and sold for sex. don't buy it. >> people are not products. men are more than consumers. learn more at don't buy it project.org. >> the anti-sex trafficking team also created a campaign aimed at preventing at-risk youth from being harmed and trafficked.
the i am prices campaign is geared towards youth between the ages of eight and 12, and the team sought input from youth who are trafficking survivors to develop this particular part of the campaign. these campaign ads are currently running at malls in minnesota, on bus shelters, and billboards. there's also 30-second radio spot and they are being featured on all the social apps that i, quite frankly, don't begin to understand. facebook, snapshot, youtube. here's a short clip of the eye and priceless video running in minnesota. >> there is what at a sexual exploitation. for help call or text
(612)232-5428, or visit the link him in.org. >> in the months leading up to the super bowl, bus drivers, hotel workers and all 10,000 super bowl volunteers receive specific training on how to identify sex trafficking when they see it and where to report it. in addition major banking institutions in the twin cities took the lead to train their own internal investigators and analysts to identify trends and red flags that maybe human trafficking indicators, and this new team is reporting such indicators to law enforcement. in addition, a collaborative team of dozens of local police departments in minnesota and the federal agencies led primarily by homeland security
investigation and the fbi, they are all currently executing targeted traffic stings in and throughout the twin cities area as of last friday. and i can report to you today that many arrests have already been made since that time of the sting. well, this is all very important work, isn't it? but human trafficking of course is not limited to such large-scale events like the super bowl. these crimes against human rights occur 365 days a year. human trafficking is prevalent and persistent, and it shows its face in many disturbing ways. yet, often remains hidden right in plain sight. in a non-super bowl year many people would not think of minnesota as a prime location
for human trafficking. however, the fbi has identified the twin cities as the nation's 13th largest location for child sex trafficking. minnesota is somewhat unique in its geography, , population, and its major industries. the twin cities represents a large of course metropolitan area that is home to dozens of fortune 500 corporations, and major international airport, and the largest shopping mall in the united states. as well as major sports teams and event menus appear we share our northern border of course with canada and with a very busy international shipping port in duluth. and throughout our interstate corridor doors we are directly connected to other large midwestern cities, chicago, st. louis, milwaukee.
the state has 11 federally recognized indian tribes and is home to many immigrant groups including sizable among somali, ethiopian, and liberian communities. minnesota pretty much has everything. however, the things that make my state unique by the things that present human trafficking vulnerabilities. this is why the fight against human trafficking is crucial mission, that none of us can afford to ignore or to only emphasize when the super bowl comes to town. in 2016, the district of minnesota was only one of six federal districts designated as an anti-trafficking coordination team, or acting, location. this is a collaborative initiative as was mentioned this
morning. among my office, the fbi, the department at homeland security and the department of labor. through this initiative we focus on developing high impact trafficking prosecution and investigation. as well as developing strong partnerships with victim service providers and state and local law enforcement partners. i'm very proud of the depth of the work of our office in conjunction with tribal, state and local law enforcement. together we have investigated huge large-scale international trafficking cases as well as cases involving an individual trafficker who targeted minor children. we know that if people go about their busy lives, usually we are not paying attention to the indicators of human trafficking. so these crimes often occur as
has been noted right before our eyes in plain sight that's why there are federal and state law enforcement task forces, not just during the super bowl year but throughout the year we are focusing our training efforts on employees who work in hotels, airports, casinos, and other hospitality and entertainment occupations. we are reaching out to teachers and administrators in schools, banking and transportation workers and healthcare providers, and the faith community. these trainings throughout minnesota have resulted in actionable shift into our office and the fbi and hsi. we've also collaborated with an organization called host, club operators against sex
trafficking, to provide education and training to owners and employees of adult entertainment clubs throughout minnesota. they may be the most likely once to encounter signs of a sex trafficking victim, and these tips cannot be ignored. so what cases have we investigated and prosecuted in my district? here are a few examples, and i like to start out with one that deals with labor trafficking, because lost sometimes in this conversation about human trafficking are forced labor cases. last year and a wealthy suburb of st. paul, to local police officers encountered a woman wandering the streets at night, bloody, beat up and frail. a native of china, she could see
the airplanes moving toward our international airport, and was walking in the direction of the airport many, many, many miles away. the officers stopped her and spoke to the woman, and this is key. because of the recent training on human trafficking issues, they were quickly recognizing this woman as a victim of human trafficking who had escaped her trafficker. the officers were able to appropriately refer her and provide the resources necessary and they involve homeland security agents from the outset. the subsequent investigation revealed that the woman endured horrific abuse at the hands of the defendant. the defendant in addition holding this person against her
will in her home forced her to work up to 18 hours a day. the victim was kicked, punched, grabbed by the hair and threatened with knives. the victim told law enforcement agents that she hid clumps of her own hair under her mattress so that the defendant, would not force her to eat the hair. my office worked hand-in-hand with local and state partners to achieve a successful prosecution of the defendant in this labor trafficking case. the defendant was sentenced to more than a year in custody after which she agreed to be deported to china. she was ordered to pay over $100,000 in restitution to the victim, and to the third-party victim services which provided services to the victim. and she was required to forfeit her home worth approximately
$400,000. the second case i'd like to discuss with you involve an all too common human trafficking scenario. minor children. last year, 14 age girls testified that federal trial against a trafficker who had sold them for sex in the twin cities. the investigation began when a concerned mother reached out to her local sheriff's office to report that a man by the name of the ponte charles was recruiting her 17-year-old daughter to engage in sexual acts and prostitution. in his facebook messages to the defendant, excuse me, to the victim, he described how the girl could make money and promised a trip to vegas, and
indicated that her life which is not all that wonderful, would be smooth sailing from here on out. he told her he would provide condoms to protector from the clients, quote-unquote. the defendant also instructed the young girls to save his phone number under the name daddy. that initial report either victims of mother to the sheriff's office led law enforcement to identify several additional juvenile victims. a 14-year-old girl told law enforcement that the same defendant had requested sexually explicit images of her. the defendant also sent to pornographic images of an adult female, and instructed the 14-year-old victim to send pictures of herself in similar poses. the defendant trafficked another minor child who was 14, and used
her to produce sexually explicit images. he asked the victim to make a video of herself engaged in very specific sexual acts, and while recruiting this 14-year-old, the defendant asked, you'll make lots of money. you will indeed make lots of money. when she asked what he meant he replied, you'll make much money from the sexual acts that i want you to perform. knowing that she was 14 years old, the defendant response and one tax, you are of young but we can make a lot of money from young. the fourth victim was 17 years old if the defendant sent messages to her about making quick money, and promising her a better life. after picking the victim up in a minneapolis suburb, he posed --
he posted for so-called escort photograph on backpage.com. he then made a hotel reservation using an alias and paid for cash for the room. for the inexorable days the defendant sold the victim for commercial sex, and kept all the money the victim received as aa result of the sex act she was forced to engage in. at the time of all of these events with these four victims, the defendant was a registered sex offender based on a prior conviction for soliciting a child to engage in sexual conduct. the case went to trial. justice was served when the victims important testimony at federal trial led to mr. charles conviction and a 36 year sentence in federal prison.
the final case i'd like to highlight is one of the largest sex trafficking prosecutions currently in the nation. this particular case is truly remarkable because of the collaborative efforts of multiple law enforcement partners. victim service providers and industry partners across many jurisdictions in our country. the investigation started through good old-fashioned police work. a federal agent with homeland security investigations received a report from her hsi colleagues down in arizona that multiple high women were being trafficked in arizona and that the operation was moving some women up to minnesota -- thai women. our office immediately commenced an investigation with our local
law enforcement partners and eventually other federal, state and local jurisdictions from around the country. we worked with multiple u.s. attorney offices, hsi, state and local enforcement across the country, the u.s. department of state as well as components here doj, including the human trafficking prosecution unit and, , very poorly, the money laundering and asset recovery section. through good surveillance, a review of records and receipts and other techniques, our agents learned that the thai victims were being trafficked in almost every major city in the country. under a watchful eye of a massive criminal organization. and it was a massive criminal organization. the enterprise was responsible for trafficking hundreds of
impoverished women from bangkok thailand to cities throughout the u.s., minneapolis, los angeles, chicago, atlanta, phoenix, las vegas, houston, dallas, austin, seattle and writer in the nation's capital. putting the pieces together required close coordination with international, , national and state and local partners. there were several trips to thailand by federal law enforcement officials, including the trip by the former u.s. attorney andy luger from minnesota. our current prosecution is the result of more than four years of work. and it fortunately had a -- it fortunately has dismantled a highly profitable operation that generated millions, up to 24 million we have counted thus
far, to a highly sophisticated sex trafficking scheme. the victims typically came from very poor backgrounds and spoke very little english. vulnerabilities of course that the traffickers exploited. the women were promised a better life in the united states. but with that promise gain a large bondage of debt of anywhere between $40,000-$60,000. the women were told that after they work off their debt they would become united states citizens. the recruiters who met with them in thailand were friendly, helpful, and made the future in the united states sound great. they brought them to photography studios in bangkok to take professional quality, escort style photographs which
ultimately were sent to traffickers here in the united states and used to advertise the victims for sex online. the traffickers encourage the women to get breast implants in bangkok and epidemic the women more appealing to men in the united states. the cost of the cosmetic surgery of course was added to the victims bondage debt. when the women arrived in the united states, everything changed. they were essentially held prisoner in prostitution houses and only allowed to leave if the company did by an employee of the organization. the women were forced to have sex with strangers from many hours every day, even if the men were abusive. they were threatened by the organization. the traffickers ensured that the women remained isolated in the u.s. they had very little money, no freedom of movement, and no
interaction with the outside world. the structure of this sex trafficking organization was very hierarchical. it consisted of traffickers, house bosses, money launderers, facilitators, and runners. each of these players have very clearly defined role in keeping this criminal organization profitable. at the top of the organization were the traffickers. traffickers in both the united states and in thailand were responsible for recruiting the victims and controlling their bondage of debt. they learned everything they could about the women, including detailed information about their families. the information obtained was an important piece of the scheme. armed with this information that traffickers threatened anyone who wanted to or try to escape,
including threats of the family back in thailand, would be harmed if the women did not do everything they were told. the traffickers also determine where in the united states women would be sent. but first they had to get the women into the united states. the traffickers did this by engaging in widespread visa fraud, including arranging sham marriages and lying on these applications in order to facilitate the travel of the women from thailand to our country. once in the united states the women were sent to one of the many houses of prostitution. next came the house bosses who reported to the traffickers and were responsible for the day-to-day operations of these houses. they advertise the women usually on websites like backpage.com, scheduled sex buyers, and
insured that the cash earned by the victim was routed back to the trafficker with the house boss taking her cut. little money was left for the victim to pay off her bondage of debt. next, the facilitators assisted in money laundering and other activities of the organization. they helped lease apartments in other locations used as houses of prostitution. they booked travel, advertise the women, and scheduled commercial sex acts. and they were the ones primarily responsible for laundering and routing millions of dollars generated through this commercial sex trade. and finally there were the runners the traffic keying key organization feared the women would try to escape so the runners accompanied them when they left the house, the apartment or hotel.
the runners were also responsible for bringing them to and from the airport. the organization regularly moved women to different cities throughout our country. in order so that the women did not develop local connections. runners also took them to the banks with the victims would deposit their payments in individual accounts which was part of the money laundering scheme. the runners were typically men and were often paid at least in part in sex with the victims here the prosecution of this case was a major undertaking. to date we publicly indicted 38 defendants, 17 so far have pled guilty, and a trial date is set for early may for the rest. hundreds of victims have been identified.
millions of dollars have already been seized, which will go forward to a much deserved restitution fund to the victims. weapons were also confiscated when the houses of prostitution were closed. this is been a victim centered a prosecution, and our prosecutors and agents have helped provide the victims with a sense of hope and a sense of justice. as noted, the organization made millions of dollars annually,, and the prosecution team is working to secure that money for victim restitution. the doj money laundering and asset recovery section is playing a major role in this aspect of the case. we have document more than 25 million and proceeds of commercial sex acts that have been laundered back to traffickers. when dealing with this level of organized crime, we know that we
can only shut down a sophisticated sex trafficking organization when we take away their money. very importantly our office collaborate with an organization in los angeles called the thai immunity community develop an center, a doj grantee. they specialize in working with the thai population to up the victims access culturally sensitive and language specific resources and services. today, some of the victims in in the case have learned english picks some are taking vocational courses, and many are living independently. we must take seriously the department of justice directed to take a victim centered approach to human trafficking cases, and thankfully we have some unique resources that provided services to stabilize and support victims throughout
the cases long investigation and prosecution. in conclusion, i'd like to make the following observation. although the increased awareness that an event like the super bowl can bring to our nation's problem of human trafficking is very important, if we really want to get to the problem of the human trafficking and get it under control, awareness and enforcement efforts must be nurtured, must be supported, and most importantly must be sustained long after the big game is over. thank you. [applause] >> we have reserved a few minutes before the lunch break for discussion. what we'd like to do is --
[inaudible] and to give you perhaps little bit more of a a directive partr the remainder of our session here. so u.s. attorney brooker, i was very interested in your characterization of the sophistication at the hierarchical nature of the organization that you are prosecuting. can you give us a sense of how you've had to evolve in terms of investigation and prosecution tactics facing an organization like that in this context? >> right. as you can imagine, i don't know if i'm on, i will yield. as you could imagine if your office is used to prosecuting traffickers who may be trafficking three or four minor girls, with not a lot of sophistication and organization, right, to tackle this level of
what i would submit is a mafia style organization, with very detailed roles, right, that a very large number of folks play, you have to leverage your resources and you have to have a game plan, right. we've had superseding indictments. the indictments have come in ways as is typical when you prosecute a large organization. the outreach to the appropriate victim service organizations of course was crucial from day one. that can be very crucial on a small human trafficking case, of course, but can you imagine the scale with hundreds of victims spread throughout the country? it took the work of a large organization called the department of justice to make this prosecution work. and for all you u.s. attorney
folks out there, those are important, important resources to leverage as you tackle larger human trafficking cases. >> your comments about the use of money laundering as an investigative technique. is that also a charge and how do you see this playing out as we go forward? >> in this particular case, because there were folks who were specific even the duty to longer the money, those folks have been indicted when we can find it. and as you can imagine some are offshore, some are, a lot of them are on the west coast, fortunately, and we were able to indict. when you have a specific indictment against a money launder and they coming to plead guilty, you know, then you say open up your books and start writing checks out to us as part of the plea. as most of you know, restitution is ordered at the time of sentencing on the backend, but a
good prosecutor and a good agent begins to think about the money on the front end. and so that's crucial in all these types of cases here unfortunately, as you know, a small human trafficking case involving maybe three or four minor women within state boundaries, that defendant may not have any resources. and so that can be a frustrating piece of the prosecution. i am here with this international sophistication of an organization. we could go after directly as part of the prosecution the money launderers and then thus the money. >> i would add from where i sit here in the criminal division at our money laundering and asset recovery section we are committed to working with the u.s. attorneys offices across the country and a dedicated
attorneys purely to look at money laundering and asset recovery in the context of human trafficking cases. we've tried to expand our training to make sure that we have that ability and consciousness to use this as a tool because i agree it's a very powerful thing. when it comes to the international aspect, we heard the attorney general mention the successful extradition from mexico several people involved in human trafficking in the united states. do you have any further thoughts on how the international part of this problem makes life more difficult? of perhaps gives us opportunities? >> obviously, you need to coordinate in any international case and seek the cooperation of folks who probably have a totally different justice system than ours, different from ours. some of those trips to thailand
that the former u.s. attorney took an official from homeland security were very helpful. it's just an added layer to the prosecution. the prosecutors have to keep focus on those folks who they are indicting. fortunately, the department and the state department have resources that can focus on that international peace somewhat so that the prosecutor can remain busy doing his or her job prosecuting the defendant and continuing the investigation within the united states. >> maybe i will drop a footnote as well. one other aspect of the department's efforts is to train foreign law enforcement there going to be able to do their part of case when it involves this kind of transport of crying people have at the department invested a bit of money and the international training and conscious like the philippines or nepal, the balkans, all these
trainings that it happened in the last year. one other aspect and it think we can wrap up with this is, i put you mention advertising to back page twice in your speech, and certainly from perspective of the child exploitation section we have seen numerous cases and, in fact, sometimes sting operations we have use the online advertising. how do you see advertising platform plank into the problem, and is that create investigative opportunities as well? >> well, as we have found in many, many human trafficking cases involving sex, you know, many roads lead to online web-based advertisement. they are the modern version of the old truly back page of whatever was being printed in the local city. it has just increased, right,
the volume that we are seeing, and it's just part of the challenge of prosecuting these cases. but there is evidence that one can use from those sites, right? and, of course, good agents are capturing screenshots as we speak right now investigating the human trafficking cases. so as is anything when the media kind of changes, and remember, i didn't know much about some of the social apps i talked about earlier, you have to be nimble as a prosecutor to do that as a positive way to get evidence. but it is very much a presence in our society now and we are going to have challenge tackling that. and that's probably all i should say about backpage.com. >> certainly i think the fact that a lot of advertising can be
focused in a particular set of online notation may present an opportunity for deterrence as well if we can attack the problem in that way, in the way that perhaps before the advent of advertising online there wasn't that sort of opportunity. i think we're out of time. we very much appreciate your attention and i would like to thank you again for a really interesting and powerful presentation today. >> thank you. [applause] [inaudible] -- and thank you for everything the criminal division does. greg, thank you for those remarks. thank you for everything you and your agency part is you on a daily basis. folks, that brings us to the lunch hour, logistically all have green badges which to let you come in and out of the building. if you leave the building you have to surrender the badge and you have to get another badge back and so allow some time if
you choose to leaked or we suggest maybe 12:45 or so start the process of reentering the building. the attorney generals entrance on tenth st. will be open again, the same place you came in in the morning. i do suggest we've only got an hour or so there's a great cafeteria downstairs. if you exit the hall go down the spiral staircase, turn left, walked down the hall and take another left, , there would be n elevator bank that's called elevator bank seven. it is marked as such. take that all the way to the basement and it will take you to the cafeteria is probably the best way to go if you're worried about time but otherwise will adjourn for now and see you back here shortly before 1:00. thank you. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> a lunch break in this daylong justice department conference on human trafficking. a are set to resume in just over an hour, about 1:00 eastern for a panel on victim support and then there will be discussion on engaging the business community and combating human trafficking. dhs secretary kirstjen nielsen will address the conference at
about 4:30 p.m. eastern and and that will wrap things up. all of the conference will re-air tonight at eight eastern on c-span. it will also be available later today on our website, c-span.org. during this break will show you a portion of the conference from this morning focusing on effective law enforcement in combating human trafficking. >> session one this morning is a panel on effective law enforcement. we have assembled nothing less than absolute all-star panel for you today, and they are on their way out right now as i understand.
ladies and gentlemen i will turn to our moderator to introduce our distinguished panel but the honor falls upon the to introduce our moderator. he is pete williams of nbc news. pete he has covered the justice department and the u.s. supreme court for nbc news since 1993. among the stories he is reported, oklahoma city bombing, the olympic bombing and the search for eric rudolph, the clinton impeachment proceedings, the legal wrangling over the 2000 florida election results, the federal governments investigation following the september 11 terrorist attacks in the boston marathon bombing and trial. he is a recipient of three national news in the awards. a native of casper, wyoming, and the 1934 graduate of stanford he was a news reporter and news director in casper from
1974-1985. he came to washington in 1986 to join the staff of congressman dick cheney as a legislative assistant and press secretary. in 1989 when cheney was named secretary of defense williams was appointed assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. he served as pentagon spokesman during the persian gulf war and military operations in panama and somalia. the national association of government communicators named him communicate of the year in 1991. ladies and gentlemen, pete williams. [applause] >> thank you very much. it's a pleasure to be here today. can you hear is all right? i'm sure we will have it soon. [inaudible] we are off to a great start. does anyone know sign language?
let me just use my big boy voice to introduce our panel. erin nealy cox -- [inaudible] this is this is a return for hee justice department because use their from 1998 and she knows her way around -- [inaudible] [inaudible] >> here we go. he was elected in 2016 with a commanding 62% of the vote but as of this on television, but wait, there's more.
the total number of votes he got, and correct me if i'm wrong, is the largest total that any candidate has ever gone into history of indiana politics. he served four terms as prosecutor in elkhart county which is home turf for him. he is a martial arts black belt comes to let that be a lesson to the rest of you, and he is an accomplished actor who for some reason he's been cast as the king of siam in thinking and die. [laughing] of the axis is director of the civil rights divisions human trafficking prosecution units, a federal prosecutor with the department of justice since 2001 -- hilary axam -- handling cases of national significance. she joined the prosecution unit as senior litigation counsel when the unit was formed in 2007 and she has been the director since 2009. and staca shehan has been at the national center for missing and exploited children for nearly 20 years currently starting there when she was ten years old and
is executive director of its case analysis division. she's an expert on the issue of child sex trafficking and latch was appointed national advisory committee of sex trafficking of children in the united states. and i'm going to ask each of our panelists to make some brief introductory marks, so we will start with erin. >> okay. so thank you. good morning, everyone. it's a real honor to be here, having been sworn in as the united states district attorney in texas just a little over 60 days ago but it is like going home. i served almost ten ten years e in the district and i can tell you that the northern district of texas is always prioritizing the trafficking cases. >> we been working case is for many years and fortunately we have
had seen it uptick in those investigations. i think primarily because we have been collaborating with our federal, state and local partners and we've been working with main justice according our efforts and so we have seen these cases come up and any prosecutor, i have many dedicated prosecutors in my office that are have taken on f these cases, is very supportive of the because working with these victims, they oftentimes become, very involved in these cases and we have lifelong prosecutor in the space. i didn't want to make into aspects of these cases briefly and then i'm sure we'll get into it more as as a speak as a pan. number one, the investigate nature of these cases, they are very tough to investigate. our local, state, and federal partners tell us this is one of the most difficult aspects of the case, getting the victims to come forward working with the victims, and we see this in so many ways where this often
becomes the most challenging aspect of our ability to bring the case. then we take these victims to the process and into trial, wrapping the victims for their testimony is very emotional for them and it becomes a very difficult task as a getting to trial with aspects of credibility and aspects of emotionality that are not typical for other cases. i would also say one thing that is incredibly important to our district is the collaboration with our federal, state and local partners. in the northern tissue to texas we have human trafficking task force and we pull in all but the police department spirit we pull in our federal partners. we pull in state ag's office and also importable into in our sol service partners. these are a crucial aspect of our ability to make these cases, to work with victims and to take them through the entire process. i think from other brethren and other dishes i've i talked to m about their efforts and this
becomes a critical aspect of our ability to speed and investigating these cases. last thing i would mention is just the importance of having forums like this and summits like this. the department has prioritize human trafficking and we are seeing that that is also a critical aspect to us, to have the awareness factor get out to our communities. so many of the people in our committees think it's not happening in their community and i assure you it is. just getting did to look for the science of trafficking, getting people to raise their hand and allow specially trained investigators to go in and start looking at some of these issues is finally important for our efforts. so i thank you for having me today and i look forward to this panel. >> thank you.
good morning. i'm what you think the attorney general, deputy attorney general of associate attorney generals for gathering us together today to intensify our focus on combating human trafficking. when we see this leadership at the top, it immediately translates into energy and momentum on the front lines. this is what leadership looks like when all three officials of this department -- [inaudible] combating human trafficking. [inaudible] i look at where i was 17 years ago. i came in as this young pop -- [inaudible] against the predator, and --
[inaudible] here i am today and idealistic prosecutor determined to do the exact same thing. it's been incredible to see the progress we've made and it's moments like this where we -- [inaudible] >> switch. [inaudible] >> so then versus now. at the time were formed a special the department was prosecuting 32 cases a year involving forced labor, international sex trafficking and sex trafficking of adult by force or by coercion.
[inaudible] which includes domestic child sex trafficking. our unit was consolidated to focus on the forced labor transnational and adult sex trafficking aspect of this really wide-ranging threat. .. and as united states attorney said the reason is partnerships. these cases are complicated. they are resource intensive. they are a long haul and it
takes all hands on deck, everybody bringing specialized expertise and working as one team. federal, state, local, tribal, international, both law enforcement and governmental and non-governmental. everybody is a key player in this. that is why it is so excitings to have this opportunity to bring together such a diverse and talented experienced group of partners in this room. sometimes it feels like slow-going, two steps forward, one step back, when you reflect on the aggregate impact of our collective work we have now, since the formation of this unit in 2007, initiated over 700 federal cases against over1600 defendants, secured more than 1200 convictions just in these forced labor international and adult sex trafficking cases. that is all in addition to
continuing record numbers of child sex trafficking cases and other forms of child sexual exploitation cases brought by our counterparts in the criminal division, child exploitation, obscenity section. so numbers are one thing but what is incredible is each one of these cases represents human lives recovered and restored and in some cases one prosecution represents dozens or even hundreds of victims who were preyed upon by those defendants, who are now restored to lives of freedom and independence. there's a reason we've been able to bring these high impact, complex prosecutions that truly dismantle organized trafficking enterprises. that is because of partnership. you heard the attorney general referring to the act team initiative and u.s.-mexico
bilateral partnership. these are examples of the partnership. there are never enough hands to go around. it is incumbent around us to work smarter, the force multiplier, to work in streamlined, efficient manner. that is what these partnerships have done. the act team initiative, phase one, doubled the number of prosecution in the six pilot districts. phase two is now well underway with incredible progress and we're pleased to have united states attorney brooker who about minneapolis to tell us about incredible developments in that district. the u.s.-mexico bilateral work is a partnership between doj, homeland security, and our mexican law enforcement counterparts. these are cases that threaten the public safety of the mexican people as well as the united
states people, and targets some of the most vulnerable victims for compelled prostitution, that devastates their lives, and it exploits them on both sides of the border. the traffickers are working seamlessly across international borders. so the countertraffickers must too. that is what we established with our bilateral work. these partnerships allowed us to bring high impact prosecutions that were unthinkable a decade earlier. that charge multiple defendants, apprehend them simultaneously, on both sides of the border. charging them with racketeering, conspiracy, trafficking immigration crimes, money laundering and other related violations to truly dismantle these heinous and brutal networks at their roots.
complex prosecutions like that democrat the power of partnerships and demonstrate another important thing that u.s. attorney cox alluded to, united states attorney brooker will refer to, and the earn general, associate attorney general referenced as well, and something everybody in this room extremely well for their work on the front lines. the importance of survivor-centered strategy. we stablize victims, we empower them to be able to come forward and recount stories they were otherwise too terrified to tell, and it is that silence that allows these crimes to persist. so, these victim protections and survivor centered approach is not only mandated by the trafficking victims protection act, it is the only thing that ever worked as we make inroads into combating human trafficking
these survivor strategies are the reason we're breaking new ground. that is why we're able to work with drug addicted sex trafficking. that population is usually reluctant to work with law enforcement. traffickers prey on the reluctance and manipulate the fear of opiate withdrawal, commodity pell the victims, using that to hold the victims in captivity to hold them in prostitution. only by using victim-centered strategy to recover, restore, stablize, victims and survives are we able to take down those trafficking schemes that pose a double-edged threat to our public safety perpetuating the opioid epidemic and the scourge of sex trafficking. survivor center strategies are the reason we're able to disman
tell these mexican trafficking networks. the reason we were able to dismantle a network to compel young guatemalan boys, some as young as 14, to labor in hazardous conditions in ohio. they were too terrified to speak out because of threats of against their families. only by stablizing them were we able to convict the eight-member security. undermined the integg fit of our borders, smuggling victims in, threatened public safety by abusing and exploiting some extremely vulnerable individuals. of all the partnerships so critical to our efforts, we're most grateful for the partnership of the our survivors as well. they give us insight, expertise, and guidance we can not get anywhere else on their view on the front lines of this threat.
without them and their courage to come forward to work with us, these crimes would remain hidden from view. they are the centerpiece of our broad based alliances and anti-trafficking alliances of the department are stronger than they have ever been and they continue to grow every day thanks to all of you and our leadership who is bringing energy to the fight by bringing us all together to streeten those partnerships. we're excited to build on that momentum. we look forward to be woulding with all of you to bring more traffickers to justice than ever before and vindicate the rights of victims and survivors of human trafficking. >> check this microphone. are we good? [inaudible]. >> these federal budget cuts are hell, i tell you. [laughter]. everybody hear me okay?
great. my name is curtis hill. attorney general of the state of indiana. i'm pleased to be here to talk about this incredibly important topic. i represent the states attorneys general. i can tell you states attorneys general all over the country taking issue of human trafficking very seriously and taking implementing roles in strategies in the states. one important thing to know, 85% of all prosecutions are at the state and local level, the local level. in many cases those localities are far removed from the issues of the day. so it is very imperative we create awareness opportunities to make sure the awareness factor is there and followed up with implementation. i can tell you years ago, several years ago i was at an event and it was the first time i had heard someone speak in depth about human trafficking and it was a woman who herself was a victim of human trafficking. speak up? thank you.
it was a woman who herself had been victim. is that better? >> who knows. >> i will just shout. i can do that. >> try this one. i brought this one from home. >> this one better? >> that was a lot better. >> let me start. i'm curtis hill. i'm state attorney general of indiana. we won't put you through that. the first time i heard anything in depth about human trafficking, i was at an event years ago, and the victim of human trafficking had, given a presentation and i have to admit, as a long-time prosecutor, stuck in my ways of understanding what happened in the world of criminal sex crimes i was thinking, well, she is just talking about prostitution and it took me a little bit of time to understand that, no, this was something different. we're not talking about a situation of voluntary criminal
behavior. we're talking about coercion and involuntary behavior into a criminal organized pattern. and once you understand that you recognize that difficulty it takes to break through not only awareness issues but also how to get things taken care of, how to get it done, how to bring people that are responsible and hold them accountable for their activities. that's a very important aspect that i'm interested in. and i always want to engage in a conversation how do we go from awareness to getting things done. in our office and across the country, attorneys generals are making sure we're working with businesses, we're working with e.r. rooms or working with hotels, we're working with any type of industry or businesses that might have come in contact with those who are victims of human trafficking so that we can identify where it's occurring and a real important aspect of what we have to discuss an hopefully we'll discuss it here today is the resource issue. most of local law enforcement
deals in reactionary mode. crime occurs, someone calls 911. cops investigate, prepare a report, get it to the prosecutor. that is the typical situation. we can't have a typical law enforcement response in a criminal organization aspect such as human trafficking. this is organized crime and it requires intelligence-gathering and unfortunately one of the shortcomings at the local level is the lack of resources for extensive long-term investigatory activities. that is why it is important to have a coalition of responses between the federal government and state government and local government, absolutely, but we have to identify ways in which we get the local police departments who are beginning to understand the importance of human trafficking, but to get them the resources so they can enin what is necessary for successful apprehension and prosecution of those who profit
from these particular offenses. i'm happy to be here to be a part of the discussion. more importantly, i'm happy to be here to be a part of the solution, to taking things that we learn and discuss here and turning them into real-life solutions on how we can fix and solve these problems. thank you very much. >> thank thank you, my name is a sheehan. i'm here from the national center of missing and exploited children. we were created in 1984 by john and may walsh as a private organization. congress designated the national center and the nation's clearinghouse on missing and exploited children. our mission is to prevent child abduction, respond to missing children and combat and deter child sexual exploitation. relevant to today's discussions
we at the national clearing house for reports related to child sex trafficking, we use that information to provide assistance to law enforcement, first-responders, victim specialists, related to the identification, recovery and location of child sex trafficking victims in this country. what we're seeing in the united states, a population of children particularly haver in ab, our missing children. especially those children that go missing from care, social services care. another population that we see are especially vulnerable are those youth that are homeless. they may be forced out of their home due to sexual orientation, domestic violence, there may be a gang involved or these children may be trafficked by family members as well. we see traffickers recruiting in schools, in foster care, shopping malls, bus stops, but most definitely online. we have several resources that are multifaceted to address this crime. we offer research related to
missing child cases that are there to support law enforcement, as these often become multijurisdictional cases. it is not uncommon for traffickers to move these kid from city to city or state to state in an effort to thwart law enforcement identification. we leverage our nationwide resources of identified law enforcement who specialize in child recovery, to make it a more efficient process for law enforcement, but most importantly, for the victim's needs first. as a national organization we have the ability to see trends and observe them on a nationwide basis. some are extremely concerning. last year, one out of seven of the missing kids reported to the national center were also victims of child sex trafficking and 88% of those victims had run from the care and custody of social services. we're seeing that traffickers and buyers are targeting teens. the average age of child sex trafficking victims reported to the national center is only 15.
trafficking victims can be male, they can be transgender youth or female. historically males made up less than 1% of the victims known to the national center. but just last year that number rose to 5.3%. in addition to resources surrounding missing child cases we operate the cyber tip line. it is an efficient mechanism for the public and electronic service providers to make reports about possible child exploitation, specifically child special trafficking. last year we receive over 10,000 reports related to this crime. there is no law that requires the reporting of child sex trafficking to the cyber tip line. we think that number is scratching the surface unfortunately. each of these reports is assigned to a specialized analyst that leverages the power of technology, private public partnerships and online open source date to add value to these reports. we get them into the hands of
law enforcement nationwide so they're available for possible investigation. understanding that this is crime is multifaceted, it needs a multifaceted response of the recovery, location and identity of these children is the first step but next step is providing them services. they are crime victims and they deserve those services but they're not defined by their victimization. based on the trauma that they face often long-term and chronic, some of that recovery can be ripe with challenges. as a result we have several resources to provide to provide those resources postrecovery. that includes working with law enforcement, social services as well as testimonily members to plan for the recovery in advance. we need to make sure that the services are identified early on, so at the point of recovery, we're not scrambling to try to figure out what those children need. we also work with families long term, to provide resources through our family advocacy
decision to make sure they receive referrals for the needs in their local community. knowing that recovery services and stabilization is often followed up by criminal and civil cases to hold everyone accountable for that child's victimization, we provide legal technical assistance to prosecutors, civil attorneys and families as well, to help them navigate these complex cases that we already heard can include state, federal and sometimes international laws. i'm here today and very excited to be part of this panel and to echo the sentiments of prior panelist that is it is most important to be part of the solution. i look forward to providing a example of how the national center can be part of those resources and having a lively discussion on many topics around this issue. >> thank you for your opening comments. let me ask a couple of questions if i may. first of all, for any of you,
for all of you, you talked about the cooperation you get from the federal government, local law enforcement, victim assistance, how much help are you getting from the business community, from the hospitality industry, from agriculture, from the industries where people are, who where their labor is forced, how much cooperation are you getting and is it getting better? speak into the gizmo there. you got it on. good luck. >> i'll weighed in first. it is important to get important in that realm but not near enough. it is important to have forums like this. no surprise, up take in sex trafficking cases on eve of big sports events. we're on the eve of super bowl. we're talking about what signs to look for in some of the industries historically not to
look for and come forward. we are seeing that but would like to see more. >> by way of example, within the last two weeks we announced in indiana enhancing human trafficking initiatives. >> so i think as we are more effective getting the word out that this is a very important problem, especially when we tie it to what is going on with our opioid crisis and the correlation between drug use and human trafficking, and how all of that is a degradation of our society at large, businesses are becoming more aware. that's the good news. the bad news is, they need to be
more aware. so much of our efforts have to continue to make sure that we continue to play connect the dot of the warning signs and what people can look for and they report it to the appropriate authorities. >> but i wonder though -- don't in essence depend or at least tolerate this, agriculture, the hospitality industry, hotel maids, people who raise sugar beats, is there a problem in the sense they don't want you to be too successful? >> i think there is a lot of opportunity there as we're just starting to realize the full scope of the opportunity there. for example, we prosecuted sex trafficking cases where one witness in our order of proof, among the victims, among case agents testifying about the electronic evidence and the documents seized and travel documents, one witness telling us the story, hotel desk clerks.
testimony boils down to, working there. this same man, the defendant, came in with a series of different young women. rented four or five rooms at a time. always asking the different young woman to present her i.d. always paying in cash. leaving the next morning. coming back in a week with another series of different young woman using their i.d.s, renting rooms in cash. that is what we call in law enforcement a clue. we should make the folks in a position to detect that clue responsible for detecting and reporting that clue. now if you're a private industry, this occurs not just in your motel 6 by the airport or by the loading decks. it occurs in very high-end hotels in prestigious parts of our city and nobody wants their hotel lobby have to have a sign,
sex trafficking is occurring in the hotel right under your knows. so we have all kinds of other issues that should concern us, like dangers of the not washing your hands or the right to be paid minimum wage. there are posters up that announce that because it is required by law. there are opportunities to put notices out to employees that you're responsible for detecting and reporting signs when you see them. so i think there is a lot of opportunity there and every time we take on a concerted effort like the attorney general from indiana referenced where you engage first-responders or health care providers or code inspectors or alcoholic beverage licensing personnel, when you target a sector of our economy like that you see results and
they start saying oh, my goodness, i seen a situation like that. i have a patient, instead of answering my questions, the patient turned to the older gentleman hovering in the background answered every time i asked her a simple question. that is another clue. that is it what we need to get out there to folks in all sectors of our economy who are in the position to detect, report, allow us to bring more of these cases. >> well, pete, you bring up a very good point because it is very easy to see the really bad actors, the ones who are clearly willfully violating the law, but what about the people who turn a blind eye, who probably know what's going on or have a clue it is not on the up and up, because of profit or not their responsibility completely ignore the problem. that is completely different from someone who is completely
ignorant. we want to go back to people that are ignorant of the to let them understand. if someone doesn't know, getting them information will often times help, but that middle group, they kind of know something is going on, they're complicit. and that is a difficult place to go and it requires good intelligence. it is an awareness issue but it is more than a awareness, but getting people to recognize their part in this and certainly we need to make sure that more people recognize that they have a part to play in correcting this problem. >> let me ask you about the victims. let me start with you, if i may, mr. hill, does indiana have so-called safe harbor laws meaning that you will not prosecute victims, for example, if a young person is compelled to engage in underage sex, will you prosecute them? and secondly, let me ask you on the federal level, is the, is it
clear that the federal government uniformly will give these people relief from deportation? >> well the, it's a tricky situation that requires each individual case to be seen as it is. there is a, not everyone who is engaged in, let's say prostitution, is there willingly. in the old days if you had a case of prostitution, the investigation would look at how do we get to the johnson? typically you would end up, you would prosecute the prostitutes, and, that was it. this is a entirely different matter because we're talking about victims who now we're identifying having been coerced, doing something involuntary. that is something we haven'ted into over a period of time in terms of what the offense really is. the so the idea we actually have someone who is perpetrating a crime unour typical statute who they themselves is a victim.
so it is imperative we recognize that when it is occurring. >> is matter of prosecutorial discretion in indiana or state law. >> it is prosecutorial discretion. our statutes on human trafficking having a measure of, i think they need to be adjusted, have a measure of coercion as a factor and we have to find a way to get past being able to approve it was always by force or coercion as it is defined. we have a tendency to think by forces, i made you do this, i physically -- force has much difficult connotation. perhaps it is getting you drugs. perhaps it is providing you a place to stay. other ways that have forced someone into activities that they did not want to incur or engage in. we have to be able to establish when that occurs and provide victims with the treatment that they require, which is victims
and witnesses of the offenses. what we're after in human trafficking because not to punish those who are being used in this regard. we're after those who are bringing them into the fold and encouraging the behavior and profiting from the behavior. and we can only do that if we are able to make sure that we turn these, these folks into the witnesses that they have to be to help us. >> what is the national center's view on the safe harbor laws and how are states doing? >> i think safe harbor is a broad term that can include a bar to prosecution and affirmative defense and we think it is important that no child be arrested for the crime that is being committed against them. we're talking about a crime of abuse and rape. it is not a choice to participate in sex trafficking when you're a minor and, as a result, safe harbor has a lot of intended positive consequences and has come a long way. i think one of the most
important things we need to include beyond just that protection from arrest, is the fact that it must include sustainable, resources and services for that victim. if there is potential for moving forward with a criminal investigation, providing that child with resources to stablize them, is the best way in the course of action to move forward. but these are also complex systems that we involve children in and lot of these kids don't have adult advocates that are there helping them navigate these complex systems. depending on need they may have, may deal with the department of mental health as well as maybe some drug and alcohol offices, housing, et cetera. that we need people, some states refer to them as navigators, to help these children navigate through these complex systems that are designed to hurt them. >> how many states have such advocates or navigators? >> i know of at least one state
has been a model for the country in minnesota and we were recently out there in preparation for the super bowl and to see their cord knitted response between the multidisciplines in that community, to even include the hospitality industry and ride share, taxi, uber, lyft, et cetera, it mass been amazing. they have definitely been setting a positive example. >> so this is an area where you think states have a long wray to go? >> they have come a long way but they can still move forward. >> what about the question of removal or deportation of adults? >> i i want to thank you how you framed that question. i have to confess i have said great questions to many moderators and not really meant it, but this time i meant it. >> you say that to all the moderators. >> no i do not but this time i really mean it. you get to the heart of matter which many victims have criminal exposure. they're engaging in prostitution. some of them are using drugs. some are undocumented, illegally
in the united states without papers. these are the things that law enforcement at first glance sees assigns of a criminal. the transformation in law enforcement culture that is necessary to effectively combat human trafficking is the transformation to seeing them as crime victims. that exposure to prosecution, for engaging in commercial sex, for using and buying drugs, or for being in the united states illegally, is a vulnerability that traffickers exploit. we have to recognize that vulnerability and address it so we can stablize and empower these individuals. only then do they become a witness. only then do we have the evidence to dismantle the criminal enterprise that causes that drug distribution, that causes that wide scale commercial exploit toyings, and -- exploitation.
that causes the pipeline of illegal immigration. that is when the act takes this issue head on and codifies the principle of non-prosecution for victims of conduct resulting from their victimization. that's why there are immigration protections provided by law in that federal statute specifically for trafficking victims, for the duration of the investigation and prosecution and then longer term, temporary non-immigrant visa. >> is that a bar to only federal prosecution or state an local prosecution as well? >> so it is a principle of non-prosecution codified in the tvpa. actually implementing that principle is the subject of great debate and rapidly-evolving areas of the law with different prepares in many different jurisdictions. as stacy referred to there is a wide range from outright safe harbor, non-prosecutable in the first instance to affirmative
defenses, to vacatetor provision s for prior criminal arrests and prosecutions expungements. there are proposals at the federal level that follow along the spectrum of those different options. so it is very much an active debate and the different approaches are being tested. there is a lot of different ways we can address this but regardless of the legal mechanism for implementing the principle of non-prosecution of victims, we can only address this threat by seeing through that superficial criminal exposure of the victim, recognizing it, as a vulnerability, and working with victims and survivors to stablize them and partner with them to take on the real criminal threat of the traffickers. >> so they are victims, not codefendants? >> exactly and that actually echoes the point i was making earlier which is, their immigration status or their
belief they're committing a crime makes it that much harder for them to come forward and the people that are perpetrating these human trafficking organizations play upon that vulnerability. these victims are told, you can't go to law enforcement. if you do you will be deported. you can't go to law enforcement. because if you do you will be put in jail. many of the victims are runaways or no place to live. even in the forced labor cases we're dealing with folks that have no ability to go out and get housing and get shelter, get a job without help. and they are afraid to come forward. it is one of the toughest problems that we have which is being able to communicate to these victims that they're actually is a path for them and then being able to work with our commune outreach partners to help send them our way when they do make, when they do make that first brave step to reach out and truth in the system that they have heard about. >> now you have all mentioned
that trafficking, traffic victims protection act, which is original what, 2000, leereauthorized in '03, 05, 07, 13 and up for reauthorization this year. how important is that, you mentioned hillary a moment ago the sort of policy tone that it sets. what are some other ways, if i could start with you, staca, what are some other ways you believe the legislation is essential? i will ask you to answer if you can, what are its prospects? >> i think legislation is essential because it defines the victimization and it has really been able to narrow the scope in terms of a topic, some people have a lot of trouble understanding the term of trafficking. from the perspective of children, one of the most important things it has done was to clarify that children are victims, whether not they have
identified a third party trafficker, controller involved in their victimization. >> can you explain that? i don't understand. >> absolutely. trafficking occurs if a child is involved in commercial sex. so anything of value traded for sex, that could be a place to stay, food, drugs, et cetera, so if that child encounters law enforcement or that child encounters a service provider they are deemed a victim according to the federal law, and there has been some debate, historically it is more difficult if the child does not identify a trafficker being viewed as a trafficking victim in those instances. so this has been crucial and it is just one element of an extremely broad and very important piece of legislation. but it is also had a huge effect in terms of connecting these victims with services. so echo what i was talking about before in terms of understanding the victimization and having the knowledge at the point of recovery the likelihood of them already -- we heard from other panelists about the barriers to
them speaking out. this automatically deems them as the victim and is one of the more important things, as i said, in a large piece of legislation. brian: >> what does it mean for you, mr. hill, for the states? >> one of the things we look at the victims often times don't recognize they're victims and one of the, even with, even with our understanding that we want to treat them as victims and move in a different direction, often times the only way to get them into our clutches, if you will, is through the criminal process. now that doesn't mean you have to follow through with prosecution but it's wonderful if we have victims who recognize what's going on, who voluntarily come in for assistance. it is wonderful if they go to law enforcement. typically they get caught up in a dragnet. they are arrested. >> they don't see themselves as victims, they see themselves as co-conspirators? >> they see themselves living their life the way they need to
live their life. i don't see they see themselves as co-conspirators of anything. for whatever reason they see themselves doing what they need to do. while we want to see them and treat them as victims, are often times onliability to get -- only ability to get into their mind set is through the arrest. from that point forward we certainly have a lot of flexibility we can look at in terms of working away from an ultimate prosecution. but i think it is, we have to be careful with the concept of simply saying they're never, they should be never engaged in the criminal process, unfortunately that is one of the few ways we can get to them. >> i guess i'm a little confused though. if you bust up a child sex ring, let's say, and you find five young women, young teenagers, and if they, as you just put it, come into your clutches, or are introduced to you, and they don't know, what amount, do they consider me a part of the crime
or do they consider me a part of the victim, why don't you want to send that message right at the beginning to reassure them? why is it important to sayre we're here to help? >> i absolutely think we want to do that. when you bust through the door, that is a law enforcement move. the immediate action in place is arrest, sorting, who's who. we have to identify who is doing what. who is our target. who are the other folks? maybe these people here don't belong to this process. there is investigatory process that has to take place we understand what we are looking at. we often times don't just go? and know who the players are and how they relate. if we have that information, that's great. but the vast majority of time we don't know the players. everybody gets caught up. what has to happen is the sorting. okay who is this role? what is this?
as soon as we identify we have someone underage, clearly as victim, don't misunderstand when i say clearly, maybe it is not so clear but certainly we suspect this is a victim situation, then need to make steps or take the appropriate steps to get them the information they need on resources to move forward. >> if i could ask you two questions, miss cox, number one, how important to you is the tvpa? and secondly from the federal law enforcement perspective do you approach these things the same way when you find a young person, you have to decide whether you sort them into the victim or the codefendant group? >> well, obviously federal statute is very important to us, and very important to our efforts. >> why? >> because it presents us with a possibility of characterizing the victims as victims. it gives us avenues for immigration status. it emphasizes the priority to the department of human trafficking. so it plays on a number of different ways, extremely
important to our effort in this field. and your second question in terms of, how do we have the intake of these cases, i think you have to sort of look at it in two different way, right? and we're conflating a little bit, sort of the child sex trafficking cases with the adult sex trafficking case and forced labor case. >> fair enough. >> in the child sex trafficking case, it is never okay, those victims are much easier to identify coming into the state system. what we want to try and do, identify the organized element how they're being trafficked so we can prosecute the individuals that are organizing them, enthat are creating the situation for them. in the adult trafficking area, forced labor area, it is often times much harder to identify them as victims without pulling that information from them. and in the context of forced labor cases it is sometimes even harder because, as attorney general hill said, sometimes they don't identify themselves as victims.
they're here. they come from other countries that come from -- stat plus in other countries, they're here, they're happy to be here. they don't necessarily recognize this is not right for the person that brought them here to be doing to them what they'ring doing. they also feel very, in our cases they also feel like they have no real ability to go anywhere and do anything. so that's why some of our forced labor cases are some of the hardest to identify, target and investigate. >> let me ask you about a different part of this process, and that is judges and juries. may i start with you, is it your sense that judges and juries get it or have you had to educate them about the nature of victim ization? >> that is the exact challenge we take on every time we charge one of these cases, bring it to court. will the judge, the jury, be
able to understand why this scheme was coercive enough to overcome the will of this vulnerable individual and turn them into a victim. and i just, superstitious enough, got to knock wood while i say this, we've been pleasantly surprised, time and again they do get it. when we enable a victim to be able to come into court, tell the story, people understand that trafficker, engaged in the deliberate scheme, to leave that person with no choice, no safe choice, and the law, there is one thing that is very strong about the trafficking victims protection act, it codifies the principle that you must analyze the scheme of coercion from the perspective of a reasonable person in the victim's situation. the legal question is not whether this action was enough to overcome the will of the judge, the jury and educated
person with a stable loving home and literacy and identification documents and it is whether it was enough to overcome the will of a person in that situation, whether it, that they are severely drug addicted, from, fleeing a home where they were subjected to physical and sexual abuse and violence before the trafficker even targeted them. whether they're coming from disruption, extreme poverty and violence in their home country, and have fled on a promise of a better life, whether they have been promised love and marriage and economic opportunity and education and they get here and they literally know nobody. they don't speak the language. they don't have a document. there is no safe way for them to leave that situation without fearing serious harm to themselves, to their families, because of threats they have heard. because of debts they have incurred to pursue this opportunity. so the tv purchase a is very
powerful instructing the judge and jury under the law to analyze the defendant's actions in respect of a reasonable person in that situation. when you have that evidence of a deliberate scheme that pulls together isolation threats, deliberately exhausting the victims -- we had filipino workers in a hotel in south dakota and they were worked 16 hours a day, and then required to walk a mile down the road without coats in the winter, you know, in the dakotas to this place where the traffickers would then yell at them for two hours about how bad they were at their jobs and how they needed to do more, wake them up if they started to fall asleep, wearing them down with exhaustion. when you tell that story to a judge and jury everybody understands that is not what a boss does to run a hotel when they just want their workers to do good work at the hotel. that is what you want to do when
you want to break somebody's will and coerce them and control them, to exploit them and underpay them, have them at your disposal. so people have been able to understand that. now as everybody emphasized, getting to the point where we have evidence of that whole story, i really want to echo the point that people don't identify themselves as victims because they come from a background where they have always been abused and exploited and threatened and fearful of dire consequences if they don't fall into line. more often i have had victims scream at me, you ruined everything! then i have had them say, thank you for pulling me out of this situation. there are many reasons for that. they often still believe the fault and fraudulent promises. they believe that they are being compelled into prostitution temporarily because of a medical emergency of the trafficker's father. they believe the trafficker is in love with them. is going to marry them, and is
using proceeds to save future father-in-law from some medical emergency and to build a house that she will then sail off into the sunset and never have to go back to the home where she was beaten and raped by her father and uncle every day before the trafficker came along and gave her hope. so at the point we pulled her out of that situation we're the enemy and she has been indoctrinated to fear law enforcement. there here to lock you up because you're undocumented. to look you up because you are doing prostitution and lock you up because you use drugs and ruin everything we've worked for together. until they take the stand in court that they, they're yelling at trafficker. i lied for you because i loved you. i still love you. i don't know why i know, i know i shouldn't but i still do. it is incredibly powerful. they star get somebody psychologically vulnerable and so strategically manipulated
psych logically and they're recognizing themselves as victims. part of the survivor center informed enforcement approach to recognize these trauma symptoms and these symptoms of it of this crime and meet the victim where they are. and do whatever stabilization and support is necessary so we begin to get story told from the perspective the victim. that is what is important about the tvpa. >> stacy, i would like to ask you two questions to dovetail, you have been at this 20 years, have you seen a change in judges and juries? secondly to move on to the next point we need to address, which is, it seems like, when you find these victims they are so needy. they need housing. they need treatment. they need a lot of care, and how good are the states and federal government giving them that care? so that is the second question.
the first one is, if you can go back, you've seen this change. how do judges and juries from your perspective get it? is that changing? >> i think we have seen change. i think we have seen increased public awareness about the fact that this crime exists. that the victims are not willing participants that are choosing this as a profession, as a form of work. so i think that is having an impact. >> is it even an issue anymore? >> yes it is absolutely still an issue. while we are making change, i'm still seeing jury education being an incredibly crucial part of these cases moving forward. there is still bias against the victim understanding that they are victims and were not willing participants. >> because nice people don't do these things, that it? >> i think it goes a little broader than that. i think there is still some bias attached to anything involving commercial sex. if we are talking about other forms of child sexual
exploitation the recognition of that child as a victim is instantaneous. but if we commercialize it, and being involved in prostitution, which is horrible way to characterize that child, there is a bias. we're seeing that there is, while we have these in progress in judicial and jury education, in area of recognizing victimization, when it comes to the way technology is being used and has evolved, this crime, we're still seeing that we have a ways to go, in understanding ing that there are a lot of facilitators of this crime and the internet can be used as a great tool to locate these victims and reach out to them to provide services. it can be also used as a tool to recruit these victims, control them. where the trafficker may not have to go to a hotel with the mine more. >> how is that a problem for the judge and jury? they look and say if you found them on the inner at the time you must be willing to do this, you're not conscripted?
>> but if you stayed at the home, you did not go to the child to the location of the hotel, the assumption that child has some different ways to, and avenues to escape without the understanding that maybe the cell phone in their pocket was that direct connection to the trafficker that allowed them to monitor that child. so just a broader understanding how technology is being involved, not only with the control and sale of children, so more broadly. >> and then i will start with you, and do double duty on this one, resources, helping victims. seems like they need a lot. what is your sense how well the states are doing in getting them the help that they need? >> i think that is an accurate description they deserve a lot. these kids have multiple need
for resources but starts out with the fact that they are identified as a victim of crime. >> not use an abstract word like resources and that is my fault because i started it. what resources? what do they need? do they need a place to stay? what do they need? >> they need housing, mental health, sometimes medical. they need resources sometimes the fact they're parents, they may have young children. moving forward down the line as they become more stablized, they need help with professional development, resume' writing, interview skills as they move forward into the job market. they need education. many of them are runaway kid who have been out of the education system for a long period of time, and may be very behind in school. we also have to consider safety concerns when talking about all of these services that many of thighs kids controlled by a trafficker, there are valid safety concerns about knowing where their location is. that trafficker going there to try to get them, bring them
back. and sad reality these kids are required to recruit. so when you're placing them into an environment there are at times safety concerns that the child may recruit other victims to take out with them. >> so, mr. hill, what is your sense how well the states do, starting with your own? >> i think we're doing better. my office partnered with the hope recovery group which is a residential center that focuses on child and sex exploitation. it is imperative that we get, that we support rest defense therapy, in the sense of places where people can go at the hope recovery center, it is not unusual for people to stay there several months. you're really talking about breaking down the current way and lifestyle and creating a new lifestyle and learning to appreciate yourself, to love
yourself, to recognize that you're not the bad person and then also gaining tools how to move forward in society. if you simply pull somebody out of the situation and expect them to be able to recover on their own, that is somewhat naive. their own help to facilitate how to get into that. we need them in environment for support of others, who have been down the road and successful. they need to have demonstrations of care and love and support from others. we're seeing that a great deal in the nonprofit world. from our standpoint we're trying to participate as we can, and support the non-profits as we can and look to legislation that will help enhance these activity. >> how about this, mrs. cox, when you have a case in your office, do you have places you can go to help these folks while you're awaiting trial. >> absolutely. i what i would say, absolutely
impossible to make any kind of impact on these cases without the help of our community partners. just impossible to get the victims to come forward, not have a way to provide them with housing, shelter food, family services, many instances, legal services, paths to get jobs. it's a recipe for failure if we try to go down the road without engaging our community partners. you see this in so many areas. one of the ways we're doing it in our district, through our task force where you see in our task force we also have community outreach, community service partners. the salvation army, mosaic genesis women es a shelters, worry partnering from the beginning to make sure the victims are not only reporting the crime but they're taken care of. i think it is absolutely critical. it is my hope to be working more an more with these community partners so that we can be even
more successful. >> what is the justice department's role here, miss axam, trying to get more of this help on the local level? >> the nine governmental victim assistance organizations who are there to help survivors rebuild their lives are everything in our law enforcement efforts. we can not do this without organizations who really have expertise in identifying, understanding and addressing the victim's needs. we also have law enforcement-based victim witness coordinators who bridge that partnership between the law enforcement team and the non-governmental victim service providers and they are rock stars. they are experts in trauma symptoms, the effect much trauma on victims ability to recall and recount their experiences. and on the needs of victims and there are never enough
specialized services, there are never enough beds. when you pull out 24 victims of a scheme and appropriate place to address their urgent, medical and psychological needs. there is never enough to go around. these victim service organizations an law enforcement victims specialists, just dig deep and find a way to work with these victims and, make it happen so that they can have a chance at pursuing a new life and not going back to the trafficker. it is an incredible struggle and it is kind of incumbent on all of us to find solutions for extremely intensive needs to build shattered lives of survivors. >> we have four minutes or less. let me ask you each of you to answer in one minute or less. look forward a little bit now, what do you see as
opportunities, challenges, what is your once year horizon. what do you want to see happen in the next year. >> like a wish-list, sitting down with my email and what i want to accomplish in 2018. >> you have 45 seconds. >> continue to build on the success we have built already. continue to education the public an increase awareness about this crime. we also continue to focus more efforts on improved education about this. if we are talking to kids at younger ages about vulnerabilities that exist that are pathways into trafficking we can try to prevent this from ever happening in the first place. but then we also have to empower those in the opportunities to identify these kids with the knowledge that they need to see those red flags. to know something is not right and not talk themselves out of picking up the phone and making a report to organizations like ours.
it would lead to intervention that recover as child. but we also have to support our law enforcement and our service providers so when this crime does occur, they have the resources that they need to combat it. >> my objective in indiana is make sure human trafficking is at the forefront of activities that we are absolutely against. that we're going to utilize the resources throughout the country of our various states attorneys general offices. i mentioned earlier we have been working very hard crafting solutions. we want to model what some of those better solutions are so we bring those and adopt those in indiana. we want to work with groups like our hope recovery center and others actually providing services to the victims. we want to do everything we can to make sure across our entire state, law enforcement as well as the business community is aware of not only what's occurring but their role of participating and making sure we can move forward and holding
those who perpetrate these offenses accountable. >> so, it is you know, what is incredibly important for me as united states attorney is knowing how important this mission is to the department of justice, to have this support of the associate attorney general brandt and attorney general sessions. . . i think success for us would be after a year to have even more people aware within the law enforcement community about how these cases need to be investigated, to have more specially trained personnel to do the investigations and to be able to be in a community with our community outreach partners and to be communicating more effectively with victims. having just been able to shine a
light because they can be a remarkable disinfectant for this crime. >> final word. >> i think where we are right now is we're on the verge of a real transformation in law-enforcement culture to recognizing that the things that initially distracted us and prevented us from recognizing victims are the very things we need to be focusing on and seeing them as the vulnerabilities the traffickers exploit. we're getting there. we are really starting to say hey, if they were already engaged in commercial sex, that doesn't mean they are not a victim. that means they were lower hanging fruit. the trafficker can then manipulate them for the traffickers profit. more easily than recruiting somebody from a stable, loving home and a bright future of education and appointment opportunities. they go for theol