- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales yesterday created a Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and assigned it the task of developing strategies to combat modern-day slavery and expand the Justice Department’s anti-trafficking enforcement programs.

“With the creation of the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, we will expand and enhance our ability to fight this crime by working together with federal, state and local investigators to tackle the enormous challenges posed by this evil,” Mr. Gonzales said. “We will continue to develop new ways to help victims and to bring their captors to justice.”

Human trafficking often involves the recruitment and smuggling of foreign nationals into the United States for forced labor and illicit sexual activity.

Mr. Gonzales said the unit will work to enhance the department’s investigation and prosecution of significant human trafficking and slavery cases, such as multijurisdictional cases and those involving financial crimes.

It will be led, he said, by prosecutors who have brought cases against traffickers and “freed hundreds of foreign and domestic victims from sex trafficking in brothels and forced labor in fields, homes and factories.”

The prosecutors include Robert Moossy, who will head up the unit, chief counsel Lou de Baca and special litigation counsels Hilary Axam and Andrew Kline, who the attorney general said bring “significant anti-slavery experience to this effort and have been leaders in developing the modern victim-centered approach to human trafficking investigations and prosecutions.”

Mr. Gonzales has made combating human trafficking a top priority. In the past six years, the department has increased by sixfold the number of human trafficking cases filed, quadrupled the number of defendants charged and tripled the number of defendants convicted.

In fiscal 2006, the department began 168 investigations, charged 111 defendants in 32 cases and obtained 98 convictions. In fiscal 2007, which began Oct. 1, the department has initiated 60 investigations, charged 26 defendants in eight cases and obtained 36 convictions.

The prosecutions have included:

• An April 2005 case involving Mexican nationals Josue Flores Carreto, Gerardo Flores Carreto and Daniel Perez Alonso, who pleaded guilty to 27 counts relating to a sex trafficking ring. According to an indictment, the men recruited young women from Mexico over a 13-year period, smuggled them into the United States and forced them into prostitution in New York City. The Carreto brothers were sentenced to 50 years in prison, and Alonso received 25 years.

• A November 2006 case involving Jefferson Calimlim Sr. and his wife, Elnora, both doctors in Milwaukee, who were each sentenced to four years in prison for forcing a woman to work as their domestic servant and illegally harboring her for 19 years in their residence. They were convicted of using threats of serious harm and physical restraint against their victim, whom they brought from the Philippines when she was a teenager.

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