While it is clear that modern day slavery is an epidemic, that’s not to say that headway has not been made; as separate federal agencies have begun to collaborate more effectively, the number of investigations and prosecutions have increased.
Federal data is as follows:
- According to the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Reports for 2014 and 2015, federal investigations increased from 1,990 to 1,998, and prosecutions increased from 208 to 257.
- Despite the high number of victims identified in 2014, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was only able provide 446 victims with assistance (United States State Department, 2014).
Data for the state of California is as follows:
- Between 2010 and 2012, 1,277 victims were identified, 2,552 investigations were initiated, and 1,798 prosecutions were made (California Office of Attorney General, 2012).
Local data is as follows:
- In Los Angeles County , the LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force served over 130 new clients. Furthermore, between 2013 and 2015, prosecutions increased from 75 to 111.
- San Bernardino County reported 25 convictions in 2015, 17 convictions in 2014, and 14 convictions in 2013. In 2016 they filed 107 cases, made 107 arrests, and served 76 victims. (San Bernardino County District Attorney, 2016).
- In 2015, Orange County identified 137 victims, provided services for 225 victims, had 81 prosecutions and 39 convictions (Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, 2016).
The common misconception that human trafficking occurs “there”, in a distant third world country, can no longer be perpetuated. Slavery is here, and it is our responsibility to help our victims as they transition into becoming survivors, and to provide them with hope and the means to achieve a better life.