Thursday, February 17, 2011

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North Texas Law Enforcement, Attorney General's Office Prevent Human Trafficking Surge At 2011 Super Bowl

DALLAS – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today announced the preliminary results of a joint local, state and federal law enforcement effort to crack down on human trafficking during the 2011 Super Bowl.

The North Texas Trafficking Task Force (NTTTF) – which included the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Unit, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and six North Texas police departments – conducted undercover operations through Super Bowl Sunday that resulted in a total of 133 arrests.

Media links
Joshua Andrews
Joshua Andrews
Letter from the Texas congressional delegation
Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force Report (2011)

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations led the NTTTF, which was comprised of 16 law enforcement agencies: six Texas police departments from Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving, Plano and Garland; the Special Investigations Division of Child Protective Services; the Texas Attorney General’s Special Investigations Unit; district attorneys’ offices from Dallas and Tarrant counties; the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission; the FBI; the Internal Revenue Service; the U.S. Department of Labor; and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas.

“Thanks to a coordinated enforcement, public education, and deterrence effort, Texas-based law enforcement officials were prepared to respond if we encountered human trafficking victims – or the ruthless criminals who trafficked them,” Attorney General Abbott said. “By working proactively to prepare for the nation’s most high-profile sporting event, Texas was uniquely positioned to crack down on traffickers and provide much-needed help to their victims.”

Sexually exploited human trafficking victims are effectively forced into committing a crime – which means that they are both victims and offenders. In one case, the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Unit and Grapevine police officers arrested a female and charged her with prostitution. After she was released from custody, the woman told the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Unit that she was a sex trafficking victim and identified her trafficker. On Feb. 11, Dallas police officers and NTTTF members successfully located and arrested Joshua Andrews, 39, and charged him with Trafficking in Persons. Andrews, a suspected gang member, was taken into custody at the Dallas County Jail. The NTTTF connected the woman with crime victim advocates to help her recover from her trafficker’s abuse.

Sixteen members of the Texas congressional delegation commended the State’s human trafficking prevention efforts surrounding the 2011 NFL Super Bowl in Arlington. In a letter to Attorney General Abbott, the congressional members said: “As you know, domestic minor sex trafficking impacts the lives of thousands of American children each year in states across the country, including Texas. Your efforts in Texas are an example of what can and should be done to protect children at risk for and victimized by sexual exploitation.”

Attorney General Abbott is the chairman of the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force, which just issued its 2011 “Texas Response to Human Trafficking” report. The legislatively-mandated study includes recommendations that are intended to reduce human trafficking in Texas and improve services to victims.

For more information about the Office of the Attorney General’s battle against human trafficking and a copy of the 2011 report, visit the agency’s website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.