FBI New Orleans
Craig C. Betbeze
(504) 816-3274
February 21, 2017

Joint Law Enforcement Operation Focused on Human Trafficking During Mardi Gras and the NBA All-Star Game

NEW ORLEANS—Today, FBI New Orleans Division Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Jeffrey Sallet announced the results of a joint law enforcement operation which focused on Human Trafficking activity in the Metropolitan New Orleans area.

Human trafficking is a modern day form of slavery and is one of the world’s largest criminal activities. Victims of Human Trafficking are manipulated through force, fraud, or coercion and are abused through forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sex trafficking. The FBI, in partnership with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, conducts operations year round, and across the United States, to combat Human Trafficking.

In an effort to identify and rescue minors as well as the others being used in the illicit trade of Human Trafficking, the FBI New Orleans Division, Louisiana State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Kenner Police Department, and the New Orleans Police Department, coordinated their manpower and resources throughout a two-day operation. Similar operations have been carried out throughout Louisiana and have rescued both minor victims, as well as some adult victims being held against their will and their civil rights violated.

During this operation, the FBI New Orleans Division’s Violent Crimes Against Children/Human Trafficking Task Force (VCAC/HT TF), the Louisiana State Police Special Victims Unit, and the New Orleans Police Department conducted a Human Trafficking operation February 17th – February 18th that rescued one minor female victim, and arrested eight female prostitutes, and one pimp.

The FBI’s Victim Assistance Program and local non-profit agencies provided immediate services to the rescued minor and the eight females identified during the operation. They will continue to assist anyone interested with necessary medical treatment, food, shelter, clothing, and services to help unite them with family and friends.

The NO VCAC/HT TF is a full-time task force currently comprised of FBI agents and task force officers from the Louisiana State Police, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Kenner Police Department.

FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Sallet stated: “Human Trafficking is a horrific crime which deprives victims of their Civil Rights and will not be tolerated. Our office remains vigilant in the fight to combat Human Trafficking in Louisiana. We will continue to investigate this problem across the state. No pimp or trafficker is safe, we will identify you, locate you, and prosecute you.”

Louisiana State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson stated: “Our joint efforts with the FBI during this operation led to the recovery of an underage human trafficking victim. The continued efforts with our law enforcement partners is paramount to not only recovering victims, but dismantling these individual groups that prey on the vulnerable. LSP will continue to allocate resources across this state to combat Human Trafficking.”

The FBI New Orleans Division is committed to working with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to combat Human Trafficking throughout Louisiana. Using every available resource, we will continue to hunt down traffickers throughout our state, and with our law enforcement partners will locate and apprehend these criminals across America and even abroad.