Portland selected as Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team | News

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Portland selected as Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team
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PORTLAND, Maine

(NEWS CENTER) --

United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced Friday that the District of Maine was designated to participate in the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam) Initiative to help curb human trafficking.

Portland was one of six cities selected from across the country. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez announced five other cities Thursday that would also participate: Cleveland, Ohio; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Newark, New Jersey; Portland, Oregon; and Sacramento, California.

The ACTeam Initiative is an interagency federal law enforcement initiative aimed at streamlining the investigation and prosecution of federal human trafficking offenses.

Agents from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Justice will work together to better identify and investigate cases of human trafficking, including commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor.

Portland is the smallest city in this second phase of Anti-Trafficking Coordination teams, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Lipez says human trafficking affects cities of all sizes.

"We've been aware that we do have traffickign here in Maine. We've been working hard to address it with our federal, state, and local partners, but I think this is an indication and a recognition that it's important to harness all of the resources we have to tackle the problem," said Lipez.

Portland is part of the second phase of this initiative. The first phase in seven different cities across the country (Atlanta, Georgia; El Paso, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles, California; Memphis, Tennessee; and Miami, Florida) proved highly effective, increasing prosecutions by 119 percent compared to 35 percent nationwide during the same two-year period.

"We've been working very collaboratively already," said Lipez. "I think this is a recognition of the relationships we've formed at the federal, state, and local level to address this problem and so we think this is a good recognition of that and it will allow us to enhance the efforts that are already underway."


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