The 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama was the site of a major collaborative effort between NGOs and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to combat human trafficking. Collective Liberty was grateful to provide support for this operation and to enable our valued partners to hold human traffickers accountable.
Events can be attractive targets for traffickers as we discussed in Atlanta’s Traffickers Thrive on Event-based (like Superbowl) buyers. Traffickers take advantage of these event-based surges of demand, sometimes temporarily relocating their victims. These large events are therefore excellent opportunities to come together and identify, investigate, and disrupt human trafficking operations in a specific location during these brief windows.
Our analysts played a unique role as the only NGO presence within the command center with local and federal law enforcement. Alongside law enforcement partners, our analysts helped proactively identify traffickers and trafficking victims through ten intelligence reports and assist with the ongoing operations of high-profile traffickers in Birmingham.
The operation was a success, as noted by local news, resulting in:
- 34 arrests of commercial sex buyers
- Six arrests on human trafficking related charges
- Eight arrests of adult males for online enticement of a minor and traveling to meet a minor for sex
- 15 adult sex trafficking victims identified and provided services
- Four minor victims of labor trafficking identified and provided services
- Two minor sex trafficking victims identified and provided services
- 11 minor victims of online sexual exploitation and sextortion identified
- Seven adult labor trafficking victims identified and provided services
- Seven missing and endangered minors were located, recovered and provided services
- Nine felony drug arrests
- One arrest of a fugitive from Michigan on charges of felony impersonation of a police officer
- Over a dozen outstanding state and local arrest warrants served on people encountered, including one for attempted murder
- Seizure of nine firearms
- Over 20 search warrants executed
- Seizure of more than $30k in counterfeit goods
Consistent with the best practices Collective Liberty provides training on, both labor and sex trafficking were investigated, and potential victims were referred to services instead of being charged with crimes.
This is a significant victory in the fight against human trafficking, and we are proud to have played a part in it. The successful outcome of this operation would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of everyone involved, including law enforcement, intelligence analysts, and victim advocates. We are committed to continuing our work to help end human trafficking and bring justice to victims.