SHREVEPORT – United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced today the creation and launch of the Northwest Louisiana Human Trafficking Task Force, which held its first meeting this morning.
The task force, formulated and led by the United States Attorney’s Office and Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office, is a collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, along with local non-governmental victim services organizations, including civic, faith-based, and social services organizations.
Members of the task force will work collectively to identify, investigate and prosecute criminals using a victim-centered approach, provide victims/survivors with assistance, offer training to law enforcement and service providers, and increase public awareness about human trafficking throughout northwest Louisiana. The task force will be led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking Coordinator, Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl M. Campbell, and will meet monthly to share information, coordinate investigations, and discuss potential matters and active cases in preparation of prosecution.
The Northwest Louisiana Human Trafficking Task Force consists of representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and its Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Marshal’s Service, U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control, Louisiana State Police, Bossier/Webster Parish District Attorney’s Office, Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office, Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office, Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office, Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office, Bossier City Marshal’s Office, Bossier City Police Department, and Shreveport Police Department.
Additionally, the task force will work in collaboration with numerous non-governmental victim advocate organizations, such as Purchased: Not for Sale, Caddo Parish Juvenile Services, The Center for Children and Families, Department of Children & Family Services, FREE Coalition, Gingerbread House – Bossier, The Hub, Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice, United Way of Northwest Louisiana, and Volunteers for Youth Justice CASA Program. Task force meetings tailored for the non-governmental organizations will be hosted quarterly by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“Human trafficking is a crime that involves the systematic abuse of individual rights, freedom, and human dignity,” said U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph. “This task force will coordinate multiple entities and agencies, and help our citizens effectively battle this evil in northwest Louisiana. I want to thank our partners in this effort who have committed their resources to protect victims, prevent human trafficking, and apprehend and prosecute traffickers who exploit their victims for financial gain.”
“While we live in a good community, we know that this does go on. Most of these victims have no hope or means to get out of these situations,” said Louisiana Sheriff’s Association President, Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington. “Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office is proud to be a part of the federal, state and local efforts to combat human trafficking.”
“Investigating human trafficking is a national priority of the FBI and we continue to take a proactive approach to identify human traffickers involved with the exploitation of adults and children alike,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Bryan Vorndran. “Through this effort we are committed to providing victims the resources they need to improve their situation and continue to bring human traffickers to justice.”
To report suspected human trafficking or to obtain resources for victims, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888, text “BeFree” (233733), or live chat at HumanTraffickingHotline.org. The toll free phone number, SMS text lines, and online chat function are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Help is available in English and Spanish, or in more than 200 additional languages. The National Hotline is not managed by law enforcement, immigration or an investigative agency. Correspondence with the National Hotline is confidential and you may request assistance or report a tip anonymously.