Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced today the launch of the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, headquartered at the Sherman Block Building in Monterey Park, California. This Regional Task Force is one of the most comprehensive partnerships in the nation and one that brings together co-located, strategic alliances between law enforcement, state and federal prosecutors and community based organizations in a victim-centered approach to fight the heinous crime of human exploitation.

“We are embracing a three pronged approach that I have no doubt will be a national model as we focus on identifying and rescuing the victims and addressing their needs while working with our justice partners to aggressively investigate, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law,” stated Sheriff Jim McDonnell, “We will also encourage prosecutors to have buyers of sex with children treated as child molesters. The coercion and abduction and violation of our fellow human beings must end.”

Federal, State, County and local resources will include the United States Attorney, FBI, Homeland Security, State Parole, the District Attorney’s Office, Probation and the Department of Children and Family Services and enable the Regional Task Force to cross jurisdictional lines. The Coalition to Abolish Slavery (CAST) and other community based organizations bring a trauma informed service to provide wrap-around services and immediate response to assist victims of trafficking.

Every year, thousands of men, women and children are held captive, physically and sometimes emotionally to be sold as cheap labor or sexual gratification. Sex traffickers are targeting children as young as eight years old.  The formation of this Regional Task Force and the LASD Human Trafficking Unit addresses the deeply troubling commercialization of child rape and advocates for changes in how law enforcement interacts with young at-risk victims.  

“Working with state, local and federal partners, we seek to dismantle criminal enterprises and bring to justice traffickers as well as individuals who create the demand that sustains these crimes, Sheriff McDonnell says, “We will also develop new approaches aimed at rescuing young victims and addressing their needs in a victim-centered way. Pure and simple, human trafficking is the cruel de-humanizing exploitation of the most vulnerable in our community.”