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MVA Hosts Trafficking Press Conference & Training

Event held in recognition of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
January 2015

Members of the Charlotte Metropolitan Human Trafficking Task Force (CMHTTF), along with representatives from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, numerous community organizations and the media, gathered for a press conference and training in Moore & Van Allen’s Charlotte office on January 9. The event was held in recognition of “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month” to highlight the CMHTTF’s ongoing efforts to fight human trafficking and support victim assistance. 

MVA Conflicts Counsel Sarah Byrne, who leads the Firm’s Human Trafficking Pro Bono Project, serves on the CMHTTF, which is led by Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  Tompkins opened the press conference, emphasizing the importance of raising public awareness on this issue and thanking law enforcement and community groups for their assistance and collaboration.  Byrne also spoke, discussing the need for community collaboration and sharing details of the Firm’s efforts to help trafficking victims.

“Gathering members of the bar and the bench, together with law enforcement and service providers like we have today is important because of the intersections between trafficking and domestic violence, trafficking and child abuse, trafficking and the juvenile justice system, and trafficking and runaway children.  Only by recognizing these often hidden victims and connecting them to necessary services can we, as a community, offer justice and healing to survivors of this horrific crime,” Byrne stated.

Other speakers at the event included Joe Gallion, ICE-Homeland Security Investigations Deputy Special Agent in Charge, and Carla Tweddale, founder of Lily Pad Haven, Inc.

The CMHTTF is a coalition of law enforcement, prosecutors, and service providers with a goal of providing justice and healing for victims through the support of collaborative services and education in the community.  The training workshop held after the press conference is just one example of the ways in which the task force is working to meet these goals.

The event earned coverage from outlets such as The Charlotte Observer, Fox 6 WBRC, WBTV, WSOC, and The State.

If you believe you are the victim of a trafficking situation or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1- 888-373-7888. NHTRC is a national, toll-free hotline, with specialists available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year related to potential trafficking victims, suspicious behaviors, and/or locations where trafficking is suspected to occur. You can also submit a tip to the NHTRC online.

You can also contact ICE-Homeland Security Investigations at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866- 347-2423) or the Charlotte Office of the FBI at 704-672-6100.