Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes affecting our world and our country today. We know that women, children, and men are being sold for sex against their will in cities and towns in all 50 states. Trafficking involves transporting people away from the communities in which they live and forcing them to work against their will using violence, deception or coercion*. *www.antislavery.org/english/slavery_today
The trafficking of people for sexual exploitation is the fastest growing criminal enterprise and is generates an estimated $150 billion in profits each year, yet only $124 million is spent globally on fighting it*. *International Labor Organization 2014 Profits and Poverty.
Law enforcement officers are the first line of defense against modern day slavery but without effective training, they are ill-equipped. With local and state government budget cuts for law enforcement training and a lack of high quality instruction on human trafficking issues, our officers are fighting a losing battle.
The victims of this horrible crime are most often vulnerable young girls and law enforcement officials require a different set of skills in order to communicate effectively with them. Victims of trafficking rarely self-identify as victims when they come into contact with law enforcement. They are taught to distrust police and are threatened that their families may be hurt if they say anything. The average age a girl entering the commercial sex trade is 12-14 years old. For boys, it’s even younger, just 11–13 years old*. *National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
For the past three years, Mission 14®, a registered 501(c)3, partnered with the Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention, the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland, and the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force to host the Maryland Human Trafficking Investigators Seminar. These are free to Investigators, Prosecutors, and Patrol Officers from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Washington DC but we have had attendees come from as far away as Texas, Oregon and Washington State. An additional annual conference was added hosting Victim Service Providers, Social Workers, Case Managers, Investigators. Both conferences continue to operate at maximum capacity.
This training is offered for FREE to the law enforcement community because of generous financial support from corporations and individuals. We have started the ‘ADOPT-A-COP’ program that will allow you to show your support for our law enforcement officers in providing these training seminars. Please visit our DONATE page to support this initiative.
The seminar has a comprehensive agenda with expert presenters, educators and survivors covering a broad spectrum of topics that inform and equip law enforcement attendees. An important component of the seminar is to increase collaboration among law enforcement (Federal, State, and local), prosecutors, and victim service providers. An example of this was following the 2017 conference we received a note from Prince George’s County Police Department (MD), that they had collaborated with officers in Virginia Beach Vice Detectives (VA), in the arrest of a violent trafficker who was known to severely brutalize the women who worked for him. “The interagency and jurisdictional contacts made the Human Trafficking Conference in Ocean City have already proven to fruitful for all involved. *” *As quoted from Vice & Sex Trafficking Investigations Unit.
Mission 14® also works on providing make-over, soft interview rooms with various Maryland Police Departments and Social Work agencies.
To learn more about how sex trafficking affects our community please visit our RESOURCE page.