The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan, which covers the Upper Peninsula, announced a new emphasis on combating human trafficking. The press release included praise for an organization operating in the Copper Country. The directive comes from United States Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Many of the new procedures will be hidden from the public. They include:
- Step up departmental efforts to end forced labor by increasing attention, resources and coordination in labor trafficking investigations and prosecutions.
- Enhance initiatives to reduce vulnerability of American Indians and Alaska Natives to violent crime, including human trafficking, and to locate missing children.
- Develop and implement new victim screening protocols to identify potential human trafficking victims during law enforcement operations and encourage victims to share important information.
- Increase capacity to provide victim-centered assistance to trafficking survivors, including by supporting efforts to deliver financial restoration to victims.
- Expand dissemination of federal human trafficking training, guidance and expertise.
- Advance innovative demand-reduction strategies.
The Department of Justice is also encouraging the formation of human trafficking task forces, something that exists locally. Its efforts were highlighted by the attorney’s office.
“The Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force provides both training and outreach programing, recently co-sponsoring a viewing of and panel discussion about the Michigan film “Ring of Silence,” a true account of a young girl being sex trafficked. The U.P. task force is a collaborative effort among members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, state prosecutors, state and local law enforcement agencies, tribal communities, and social service providers all in the U.P.”
The film will be shown on Tuesday, February 8th, at Hancock Central High School. Keweenaw Report will have an interview with Iron River Police Department’s Curt Harrington to discuss the problem in the Western Upper Peninsula and preview the Copper Country screening.