Human Trafficking

The mission of the Human Trafficking Unit is to identify and rescue victims of human trafficking leading to the prosecution of human traffickers and to promote public awareness of human trafficking within Fort Worth.

History
After several female Honduran human trafficking victims were rescued from Fort Worth’s north side bars in 2002, and after that, the rescue of 79 undocumented aliens from within a tractor trailer in 2004, FWPD felt the need to address the problem of human trafficking within its community.

In the summer of 2005, 31 area law enforcement agencies (LEA’s) including Fort Worth and social service providers (NGO’s) formed the North Texas Anti-Trafficking Taskforce (NTATT) to develop working relationships leading to the increase of victim-centered rescue and restoration of human trafficking victims. Today, the NTATT has grown to approximately 40 members and serves the northern district of the Attorney General’s office (54 counties).

In December 2006, FWPD was awarded a three-year federal grant by the United States’ Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop a Human Trafficking Unit. This grant expired; however, the unit continued to exist within the Support Bureau, composed of just one detective.

On January 1, 2016, the Tarrant County 5-Stones Taskforce was created. This taskforce is an extension of the Fort Worth Police Department that responds to domestic minor sex trafficking and is led by a civilian Program Coordinator.

In July 2016, the Major Case Unit assumed responsibility for the Human Trafficking Unit and expanded it by several positions. The Unit investigates possible human trafficking operations, rescues potential victims and promotes public awareness of human trafficking, supporting the activities of the NTATT. Additionally, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), Homeland Security Investigations, and FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) agents work in collaboration with the Unit.

Structure & Duties of the Human Trafficking Unit

The Human Trafficking Unit is currently composed of three full-time employees:
  • Detective
  • Officer
  • Civilian program coordinator

The Detective handles all human trafficking investigations and reports generated, initiates undercover investigations and special details, spearheads investigations with outside agencies such as the FBI, and works with state and federal prosecutors in human trafficking cases. He or she has the ability to pull the team together to ensure federal prosecution of the perpetrator and service provision to the victim through NTATT.

The Officer assists the detective and federal agencies such as the FBI in investigations; conducts human trafficking trainings to FWPD officers as well as training for new police recruits; speaks to local nonprofits, churches, and community members on human trafficking; serves as a liaison to the NTATT; coordinates social, legal and health services for rescued victims through Mosaic Family Services, Inc. (and through DHHS and DOL); and works in tandem with the program coordinator to ensure the objectives and goals of the program are met.

The Program Coordinator supports sworn personnel in the Human Trafficking Unit by managing the FWPD’s taskforce responding to juvenile sex trafficking (Tarrant County 5-Stones Taskforce), providing educational presentations, and developing local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) partnerships to reduce the load on the HTRU and FWPD. This position also coordinates the case management aspect of high-risk juvenile response efforts; serves as the public contact for all community interactions and collaborative efforts; develops media relations and publicity activities to foster community involvement and heighten awareness of trafficking issues; and performs a variety of professional tasks in support of the unit.

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