The Network’s Field Support package is highly effective at helping law enforcement build stronger cases against illicit massage industry (IMI) leaders because of its unique two-pronged approach. First, our cultural ambassadors’ ability to engage victim workers in culturally sensitive, language-fluent ways builds rapport and helps them feel safe telling their stories, including information that can help law enforcement bring their traffickers to justice. Second, our expertise on the IMI’s business model and vulnerabilities, including factors like best practices for evidence searches, can boost our partners’ seizure of material and financial evidence, which also helps strengthen cases.
In June 2019, The Network assisted the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office during an arrest operation against a human trafficker. While engaging with and interpreting for witnesses, we received information about several other network leaders, additional business and residential locations, and intra-network communications. This information helped law enforcement build a single arrest into an IMI network case that resulted in five arrests with multiple charges each, hundreds of thousands of dollars seized, and overwhelming evidence of commercial sexual activity and other crimes.