Fighting Human Trafficking
Since 2004, the D.C. Human Trafficking Task Force has brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to fight human trafficking, the heinous crime where victims are forced to engage in labor or commercial sexual exploitation. The task force works to increase the prosecution of human trafficking cases, enhance the identification of trafficking victims, and provide comprehensive services to trafficking victims in the District.
This year, OAG is taking on a new leadership role and co-chairing this important task force along with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. OAG will be collaborating with our local law enforcement and non-governmental partners to build on the task force’s information sharing, internal and external training, and relationship building. These efforts will help OAG and its partners continue protecting some of the District’s most vulnerable residents.
This new leadership role is just the latest in OAG’s year-round efforts to fight child sex trafficking and protect youth, which include:
- Providing School and Community Trainings: OAG staff host trainings at schools and community centers across the District to teach residents how to identify the warning signs of trafficking and how to seek help for others. Since Fall 2019, OAG has conducted 20 trainings at local schools and reached hundreds of students. To request a training, email OAGCommunity@dc.gov.
- Raising Public Awareness: OAG launched a public service announcement campaign in D.C. metro buses to raise awareness that anyone can be a victim of sex trafficking. This campaign dispels myths about who can be a victim of trafficking and directs people to resources that teach them how to spot this crime and how to seek help for themselves or someone they know.
- Establishing HOPE Court: In 2018, OAG partnered with local stakeholders and the D.C. Superior Court to establish the Here Opportunities Prepare you for Excellence (HOPE) Court, which helps youth in the juvenile justice and neglect systems who are at risk or involved in human trafficking. HOPE Court links youth with support services that are sensitive to the trauma they have experienced and helps to stabilize and rehabilitate them. OAG diverts young victims to HOPE Court and trains new judges on how to identify victims of trafficking so that they can connect them with this program.
- Strengthening Protections for Children: OAG introduced legislation that requires more adults to report abuse and trains them on how to spot it. This bill will help protect children and stop abuse that has traumatic and life-long effects on children’s behavior, emotional and mental health, and performance in school.
Learn the warning signs of sex trafficking by reading our factsheet. If you or someone you know is in danger or needs help, call 911 or 1-888-373-7888, or text “HELP” to 233733 (BeFree).