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WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf announced Thursday the opening of the DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking, the U.S. government’s first-ever integrated law enforcement operations center directly supporting federal criminal investigations, victim assistance efforts, intelligence analysis, and outreach and training activities related to human trafficking and forced labor.
The center, which has been operational since early September, is based in Washington and led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a global leader of criminal investigations into human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The center will be staffed with law enforcement officials from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and across DHS, as well as subject matter experts and support staff from 16 DHS components — all focused on the “4 Ps” of the center’s mission: prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships.
“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. There is no other way to say it,” said Acting Secretary Chad Wolf. “The words are strong because the actions are evil. The forms of exploitation, sex trafficking, forced labor, and domestic servitude that constitute human trafficking are antithetical in every way to the principles of human dignity that Americans hold dear. The launch of this Center for Countering Human Trafficking represents the investment of resources, attention, and time by President Trump to combat and dismantle all forms of human trafficking.”
On Jan. 15, Wolf signed and released the DHS Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, the Importation of Goods Produced with Forced Labor, and Child Sexual Exploitation which pledged to bolster DHS efforts to combat human trafficking and forced labor.
“Human trafficking, whether through sex or labor, is a detriment to our society and threatens the moral conscience of our nation. Criminal organizations target those who are most vulnerable and exploit them through any means necessary, victims are treated as…