Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has created a Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit to develop strategies for combatting modern-day slavery and expanding the Justice Department’s anti-trafficking enforcement programs, reports the Washington Times. Human trafficking often involves the recruitment and smuggling of foreign nationals into the U.S. for forced labor and illicit sexual activity.
The new unit will be led by prosecutors who have “freed hundreds of foreign and domestic victims from sex trafficking in brothels and forced labor in fields, homes and factories,” he said. It will be headed by Robert Moossy, assisted by Lou de Baca, Hilary Axam, and Andrew Kline. Gonzales has made combating human trafficking a top priority. In six years, the Justice Department has increased by sixfold the number of human trafficking cases filed, quadrupled the number of defendants charged, and tripled the number of defendants convicted. In fiscal 2006, the department began 168 investigations, charged 111 defendants in 32 cases and obtained 98 convictions.