ICE - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

02/06/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/06/2023 14:11

HSI Charleston, U.S. attorney’s office conduct anti-human trafficking workshop

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Special agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Charleston teamed up with the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to conduct a day-long human trafficking training workshop Jan. 31 at the University of Charleston.

The event, titled "Combatting Human Trafficking in West Virginia: Bringing Our Communities Together for Response, Prevention, Awareness and Action," enabled HSI Charleston and its law enforcement partners to meet with about 200 teachers, educators, front-line workers, law enforcement partners and other stakeholders to discuss ways to combat human trafficking, specifically addressing the problem throughout the state of West Virginia.

"Training events like these are vitally important in the fight against human trafficking because they allow HSI to interact directly with the people who have the most involvement with potential human trafficking victims," said HSI Washington acting Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon. "These teachers, educators and front-line workers are the very people who will most likely recognize the warning signs of human trafficking; these events allow our special agents to teach them exactly what those warning signs are and how to identify them."

Because of the rampant poverty affecting the state's economy, many West Virginians may find themselves more vulnerable to traffickers who promise them money, food, clothing or a place to stay.

After opening remarks from acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge Hector Martir of HSI Washington, Special Agent Brian Morris of HSI Charleston provided an overview of the human trafficking problem in West Virginia. This overview was followed by information sessions and breakout group meetings conducted by experts from HSI, the U.S. attorney's office and other partner organizations.

The training was a joint effort between HSI Charleston and the U.S. attorney's office with significant contributions from the West Virginia Fusion Center, the West Virginia Center for Children's Justice and the West Virginia State Police.

Anyone with information regarding human trafficking or child exploitation is encouraged to provide their tips to law enforcement. Homeland Security Investigations has a nationwide tipline that members of the public can call to report what they know. You can reach HSI at 866-347-2423. The HSI tipline is manned 24 hours a day.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI's workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI's international presence represents DHS's largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.