TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – On February 2, 2022, U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland released the Justice Department’s new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking pursuant to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.
Rooted in the foundational pillars and priorities of the interagency National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which President Biden released on Dec. 3, 2021, the Justice Department’s National Strategy is expansive in scope. It aims to enhance the department’s capacity to prevent human trafficking; to prosecute human trafficking cases; and to support and protect human trafficking victims and survivors.
“Human trafficking is an insidious crime,” said Attorney General Garland. “Traffickers exploit and endanger some of the most vulnerable members of our society and cause their victims unimaginable harm. The Justice Department’s new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking will bring the full force of the Department to this fight.”
“Human trafficking is an abomination,” said United States Attorney Jason R. Coody. “With no regard for human dignity, traffickers inflict indescribable physical harm to their victims and often leave emotional scars that cannot be healed. With our law enforcement partners, our office remains committed to aggressively prosecuting those who must be held accountable for their despicable crimes.”
The United States Attorney’s Office joins law enforcement’s combined efforts to inform and protect communities across the district throughout the year. According to the Florida Department of Children and Families and based on the human trafficking intake rate per 100 children in the population, the Panhandle had one of the highest rates of reporting of human trafficking between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021. U.S. Attorney Coody highlights efforts by federal, state, and local partners to prevent and combat human trafficking in the Northern District of Florida (NDFL) held during January’s National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month.
Numerous human trafficking trainings and events included the following:
In addition to providing education, prevention, and technical and training assistance, the USAO-NDFL also vigorously prosecutes human trafficking crimes. Most recently, NDFL joined its federal, state, and local partners in Operation Stolen Innocence, which resulted in the investigation and federal prosecution of 19 defendants for victimizing a child in the Tallahassee area. In 2021, three defendants were convicted following jury trials. Thirteen defendants pled guilty, and three cases are pending trial. A collective 840 months in federal prison have been imposed for those have been sentenced thus far.
Among other things, the Justice Department’s multi-year strategy to combat all forms of human trafficking will:
The department’s strategy will be implemented under the direction of the National Human Trafficking Coordinator designated by the Attorney General in accordance with the Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017.
If you believe that you or someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, please contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888, or Text 233733.
To read the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking click here.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access available public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.U.S DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE