Embed from Getty Images

Starting this month, law enforcement agencies in the state of Louisiana will begin training their recruits about human trafficking in compliance with a new law passed by the State Senate earlier this year.

Louisiana Senate Bill 63—which was passed by a 40-14 vote (with one abstention) in late June and was signed by Governor John Bel Edwards soon thereafter—amends Children's Code Act 601 relative to mandatory reporting of child abuse and reporting of sex trafficking.

The new language of the law ensures that mandatory reporters—a group including but not limited to teachers, health care providers, and police officers—who see indications of suspected abuse that involves alleged sex trafficking, must report their observations to the United States Department of Defense Family Advocacy Program, the Louisiana State Police, and "to the appropriate local law enforcement agency for investigation or other action as appropriate."

The new law also includes language stipulating "ongoing multidisciplinary coordination and service planning with key agencies to address medical, psychological, safety, housing, and other emergency and long term needs of the child and the investigative needs of law enforcement."

Trainers Prepare Training

The law takes effect on January 1, 2023 but training for Louisiana law enforcement began earlier this month, and according to a report by WAFB-TV News, police trainers in the Pelican State have already begun preparing course curricula and syllabi.

Sergeant L’jean Mckneely of the Baton Rouge Police Department told the news outlet, "We've had dealings with [human trafficking], so we're somewhat familiar with that whenever we get calls of that happening at our local hotels because that’s where we typically respond to those types of calls."

He adds, however, that although BRPD officers have some level of understanding of the issues related to human trafficking and sex-slavery, his department—along with other public safety agencies—will be connecting with federal agencies about becoming properly trained on the subject.

"Now that there is a requirement for us to come up with a course syllabus for it, we will adhere to whatever rule there is," Mckneely said.

Invasion of Sex Slaves

According to statistics released in late July by United States Customs and Border Protection, so far in Fiscal Year 2022 (with more than three months of reporting remaining to be collected until FY 2022 ends on the last day in September), the total number of USBP Encounters is up to 1,639,206. In all of FY 2021 that number was 1,662,167.

In FY 2020 the total count was less than one-third of those figures at 405,036.

Among those attempting to enter the United States illegally are smugglers of human cargo destined to be enslaved in sex work throughout the country, typically "employed"—or better said, enslaved—by gangs and cartels. While it is impossible to estimate with any real confidence precisely how many sex slaves are being trafficked across the Southern Border, it's sufficiently safe to say that any number is too many.

A June 2022 press release issued by the Department of Homeland Security declared that "the line between human smuggling and human trafficking is blurred" and that "those who hire human smugglers can become the victims of human traffickers."

DHS said in that announcement that is has launched an "interagency effort" and has "committed over $50 million" and "surged over 1,300 personnel" to combat the ever-increasing challenge.

The carefully crafted press document touted the number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) personnel being sent to the border and to "partner nations" in Latin America. It lauded cool-sounding things like "Operation Expanded Impact" and "Operation Sentinel" and "Joint Task Force Alpha."

The problem is, throwing money at the problem won't fix the problem.

Training for (and by) state, county, and municipal police agencies to enforce laws against human trafficking—and prosecuting attorneys willing to pursue appropriate punishments for lawbreakers—will ultimately make the real difference.

Related Article:

What You Need to Know About Human Trafficking

Author

Doug Wyllie
Doug Wyllie

Contributing Editor

Doug Wyllie has authored thousands of feature articles, opinion columns, news reports, and tactical tips with the goal of ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

View Bio

Doug Wyllie has authored thousands of feature articles, opinion columns, news reports, and tactical tips with the goal of ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

View Bio
0 Comments