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October 23, 2012 > Accord strengthens cross-border human trafficking investigations and prosecutions

Accord strengthens cross-border human trafficking investigations and prosecutions

Submitted By the Office of the Attorney General

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Mexico Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibanez signed an accord on September 21, 2012 to expand prosecutions and secure convictions of criminals who engage in human trafficking.

The accord will increase coordination of law enforcement resources targeting transnational gangs that engage in the sale and trafficking of humans across the California-Mexico border. The accord calls for closer integration between the two offices for such investigations and sharing of best practices for law enforcement to recognize instances of human trafficking and provide victims with support and services. On September 21, 2012, prosecutors from the two offices held the second of a series of meetings to implement the initiative.

"California and Mexico are taking joint steps to disrupt and dismantle the criminal networks that traffic humans into our state as if they were just another commodity," said Harris. "Targeting transnational gangs is a vital component of our efforts to protect public safety in California."

Human trafficking is an estimated $32 billion global industry and the world's third most profitable criminal enterprise, after drugs and arms trafficking. The United States Department of State estimates that between 14,000 and 17,500 individuals are trafficked into the country, annually. The National Human Trafficking Hotline and Resource Center received more than 54,000 calls between 2007 and 2011, with more than 15 percent originating from California.

In early September 2012, six individuals, with suspected links to the La Familia and Sinaloa cartels, were arraigned on drug trafficking charges. The two busts resulted in the seizure of more than 43 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of nearly $2M.

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