Fusion centers play a unique role in protecting their communities, informing decision making, and enhancing information sharing activities among law enforcement and homeland security partners. The DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) helps the National Network of Fusion Centers to develop and implement their capabilities by leading federal interagency efforts to share information and products, conduct training, deploy personnel, and provide connectivity to classified and unclassified systems. These 2015 success stories and best practices illustrate the value of the national network of fusion centers in preventing, protecting against, and responding to criminal and terrorist threats.
Fusion Center Collaboration Leads to Sex Trafficking Related Arrests
Multiple Fusion Centers, February 2015
As a result of information sharing by the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange (CFIX), Louisiana State Analytic and Fusion Exchange (LA-SAFE), and the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center (OCIAC), three adults were arrested in June 2014 on charges of sex trafficking, an insidious form of human trafficking that has the potential to victimize an estimated 300,000 at-risk children each year in the United States alone.
Extensive information sharing, leading to arrests and convictions, began when Florida’s Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI), a regional task force including representatives from ICE and FBI, initiated an investigation involving a vulnerable runaway minor from Orlando. According to investigative reports, three adults recruited the minor to work as a prostitute in five different US cities – three in Louisiana and two in California. The MBI notified the CFIX about the sex trafficking investigation, and, because the case crossed state lines, the CFIX subsequently teamed up with the LA-SAFE and OCIAC to support the MBI investigation.
Working across the National Network of Fusion Centers, the CFIX, LA-SAFE and the OCIAC leveraged their vast information access and sharing capabilities to quickly obtain and disseminate key investigative information to MBI and local law enforcement partners. Through the extensive collaboration between fusion centers and law enforcement, all three suspects were identified and convicted, with the ringleader receiving a 30 year sentence in February 2015. These results demonstrate the indispensable role of fusion centers in supporting multi-state criminal investigations.
While law enforcement strives to eradicate human trafficking in all its forms, fusion centers will continue to fill a critical information sharing function in support of the fight. To learn more about human trafficking and the key role the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plays in combating this threat, please visit the DHS Human Trafficking webpage.