Human trafficking and juvenile drug smuggling are two global problems that have been in the headlines recently.
As part of the Joint Session with American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP), and American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM) on Sunday, James A. Plitt, Deputy Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), San Diego, will discuss these two issues and the impact to respective communities, the possible connection to the medical community and collaborative awareness and prevention efforts. His presentation will take place from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Hall A on the ground level of the convention center.
Plitt is currently one of the two Deputy Special Agents in Charge (DSAC) for HSI in San Diego. His DSAC area of responsibility covers those investigative operations and programs supporting HSI’s mission along the California border with Mexico.
In fiscal year 2016, HSI initiated 1,029 investigations with a nexus to human trafficking and recorded 1,952 arrests, 1,176 indictments, and 631 convictions; 435 victims were identified and assisted. ICE continues to make human trafficking cases a top investigative priority, bringing traffickers to justice and connecting victims to services to help them restore their lives.
Additionally, HSI proactively reaches out to stakeholder groups to conduct awareness presentations and collaborates with local, governmental and non-profit agencies and groups to thwart criminal activity, possibly prevent exploitation through education and outreach and utilize community support services. The Department of Homeland Security spearheads the collaborative Blue Campaign, which has developed awareness and training materials to help increase awareness and educate on the indicators of human trafficking in addition for serving as a conduit for information to connect victims to law enforcement and/or community support and resources.
Additionally, juvenile drug smuggling is again on the rise. The increase in the use of juveniles in the drug trade can have significant and sometimes permanent consequences to highly impressionable and easily influenced youth. In addition, the consequences can also impact family members and their community. The methods used by smuggling organizations are always changing and through continued training, the use of emerging technologies and dedication, ICE has maintained its expertise in disrupting and dismantling these criminal organizations.