In 2011, the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign initiated a project to help law enforcement more effectively identify human trafficking victims, traffickers, and accomplices, in collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, and the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center. The project uses state-of-the-art technology to help federal investigators and prosecutors build stronger cases against human trafficking organizations.
The project led to ICE HSI’s recent arrest of 13 individuals in New York involved in human trafficking. The defendants are believed to be linked to larger, transnational networks of sex traffickers which lure women from Mexico by engaging them in romantic relationships and promising a better life in the United States. After the women are recruited, they are then forced into prostitution and become victims of human trafficking .
"With promises of a better life, the members of this alleged sex trafficking and prostitution ring lured their unsuspecting victims to the United States and then consigned them to a living hell – forcing them to become sex slaves living in abhorrent conditions, and using threats, verbal abuse, and violence – sexual and otherwise – when they resisted and even sometimes when they didn’t," said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. "With their arrests Tuesday, the barbaric conduct in which these defendants allegedly engaged in order to make a profit has now been put to a stop, and they will be prosecuted for their alleged crimes and the women they enslaved will be able to put their lives back together."
Read more about this investigation at: http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1305/130501newyork.htm.