Human Trafficking in the News:

 

October 2018 – Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Awarded $1.5M Grant

Riverside, Ca – The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT) is pleased to announce it has received a combined total of $1.5 million dollars in federal grant funding following receipt of two awards announced by the United States Department of Justice. The grant awards were made possible through the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) divisions under the “Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking” program. The grant awards were announced on Saturday, September 29th, 2018, following a successful application for funding submitted by the task force in the spring of this year.

The Department of Justice awards these grants through a competitive application and review process. This year’s Enhanced Collaborative Model grant awards funded a total of seventeen human trafficking task forces across the United States. A complete listing of funded programs made possible by BJA and OVC can be viewed at the following websites:

BJA Award Page
OVC Award Page

Receipt of these funds will help continue and expand upon the task force’s law enforcement, victim service, and outreach efforts over the next three years. Among other things, receipt of this grant will provide for expansion of the task force through the addition of a task force officer as well as expand upon the task force’s victim service efforts through the addition of Rebirth Homes, a non-profit anti-human trafficking organization.

The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force was initially formed in 2010 to address crimes involving the exploitation of victims via force, fraud, or coercion. These cases often involve the commercial sex trafficking of children, as well as incidents of forced labor, indentured servitude, debt bondage, or slavery. The RCAHT Task Force is a multidisciplinary task force which combines the investigative resources of both local and federal law enforcement. The RCAHT Task Force provides victim services and education/outreach through partnerships with the non-profit groups Operation SafeHouse, Rebirth Homes, and Million Kids. The law enforcement component of RCAHT is currently composed of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations, Riverside County Probation Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, along with the part-time participation of the Hemet Police Department and Riverside Police Department.

Anyone with questions about the RCAHT Task Force is encouraged to contact Sergeant John Sawyer at (951) 955-1700 or via email at jsawyer@riversidesheriff.org.

Suspected human trafficking leads or tips can be reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.


June 2017 – Man sentenced to 122 years in FB prostitution pandering case

INDIO, Calif. –  A Hemet man has been sentenced to 122 years and 8 months to life in prison after being charged with 61 felonies in connection to a fictitious Facebook prostitution pandering scheme where he contacted young-looking and underage females throughout Southern California, including the Coachella Valley.

Eliberto Cruz Jacobo, 44, was arrested on March 17 after a search warrant was served at his home in the 1300 block of Cinnabar Avenue in Hemet. Authorities said he’s accused of contacting approximately 120 girls through the misleading Facebook account he set up using the name ‘Marlissa Garcia’.

NOTE: The lead for this case came from a presentation given by Opal Singleton, Training and Outreach Coordinator for RCAHT and President and CEO of Million Kids, at Shadow Hills High School in Indio, CA.


January 2015 – RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Volunteers raise awareness about human trafficking

Volunteers fanned out across Riverside County Saturday to spread awareness about human trafficking and help businesses comply with a law to help victims. Volunteers fanned out across Riverside County Saturday to spread awareness about human trafficking and help businesses comply with a law to help victims. Though the law has not yet been enforced in Riverside County, since April 2013 California has required certain types of businesses to post notices informing the public and potential victims of human trafficking and slavery about telephone hotlines where they can seek help or report suspicious activity. “I don’t think a lot of people are even aware of it,” sheriff’s Lt. Paul Bennett, who oversees the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, said of the law. The businesses affected include massage parlors, farm labor contractors, transit stations, sexually oriented businesses, liquor stores, emergency rooms and privately operated job recruitment centers. (Click link to read more).

The Day of Action also took place in the desert, where volunteers set up at Southwest Church and fanned out all over the Coachella Valley. KMIR Day of Action Video


Riverside County Anti Human Trafficking Task Force Day Of Action January 17, 2015

January 17th – A Day of Action and Awareness to combat Human Trafficking in Riverside County Created by SafeHouse and The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, The Riverside County Anti- Human Trafficking Task Force ( RCAHT) seeks to build community awareness and combat the crime of Human Trafficking. As of April 1, 2013, certain businesses are required to post a notice informing the public and victims of human trafficking of telephone hotline numbers to seek help or report unlawful activity. There are specific posting mandates, language requirements, and penalties for failure to post. SafeHouse is organizing volunteers to educate certain businesses (hotels, urgent care, truck stops, etc.) about Human Trafficking and hand out posters that will ensure all necessary establishments are in compliance with the law. We hope to canvass the  City of Riverside and surrounding areas on January 17, 2015 and need as many volunteers as possible. Those under 21 can volunteer with an accompanying adult.

 


2 Hemet Residents Arrested On Human Trafficking Charges Involving Teen Girls

HEMET (CBSLA.com) — A pair of Riverside County residents have been arrested on human trafficking charges involving two teenage girls. Dontae Wade, 33, and 30-year-old Precious Powers were taken into custody Wednesday at a home in the 1100 block of Rosalia Avenue in Hemet, officials with the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT) said. The investigation into Wade and Powers began on May 12 when the RCAHT received information about the possible sexual exploitation of a 16-year-old girl. Officials said the victim was recruited by the two suspects and was taken “to San Bernardino and Santa Ana, where she was compelled to perform sex acts for money on numerous occasions.” Authorities served a search warrant of the residence Wednesday and arrested the pair for felony human trafficking, pimping of a minor and conspiracy. They were booked into the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta. “Investigating officers present at the search warrant located an additional 18-year-old female who disclosed she began working as a prostitute for Wade and Powers when she was 17 years old,” officials said. Powers was being held on $25,000 bail and will appear in court Friday. Booking information was not available for Wade.

Human Trafficking Arrest (RCAHT) Perris Riverside 12.11.2014 

December 03, 2014 (RCAHT) Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force took responsibility for a missing 15 year old. The investigation reviled a web site posting prostitution ads and pictures of missing children and teens. December 11, 2014 RCAHT located several adult males in the, accompany of a 15 year old reported missing, (Name withheld due to age). Drugs and a firearm was also, discovered at the location. One additional Juvenile suspect was not at the scene. Arrested were one juvenile, and a 25-year-old Perris resident Michaeldeangelo Zavala. Along with, 19 years old, Norco, resident Joseph Hundley who was also charged with possession of a controlled substance. (Click title to read full Arrest)

Riverside County a hot spot for human trafficking

Riverside County is a hot spot for human trafficking and experts say they are constantly identifying new victims, including some from the Coachella Valley. “You’re right in the middle of a trafficking corridor,” said Opal Singleton, training and outreach coordinator for the county’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force and president and CEO of Million Kids, a Riverside-based nonprofit organization that combats the crime. A panel discussion is scheduled for Thursday night at Rancho Mirage High School to discuss the issue that plagues families across the country. The presentation will include a documentary, “Not My Life,” about human trafficking across the world. (Click title to read full story)