MBI launches new human trafficking division

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has announced the formation of a new human trafficking division. 

The division was created with the passage of a bill designed to combat human trafficking that was passed during the 2019 legislative session. The Mississippi Department of Public Safety (MDPS) immediately began seeking additional funding sources to support the enforcement of this state-wide effort to thwart human trafficking in Mississippi. 

“MDPS is proud to announce, on behalf of Attorney General William P. Barr, the Office of Justice Programs approved MDPS’s application for funding under the FY 19 Enhanced Collaborative Model Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking in the amount of $800,000.00.”

The bill that created the division, authored by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, also established additional protections for victims and mandates specific training for law enforcement to help spot and stop acts of trafficking. 

The FY 2019 Enhanced Collaborative Model Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking: Supporting Law Enforcement’s Role grant award is specifically intended to support MBI’s enforcement role in investigating and solving human trafficking crimes. Grant eligibility requires a collaborative, multidisciplinary task force. 

“The Department of Public Safety is excited to bring these federal funds to Mississippi to aid the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation in formulating official law enforcement led task forces to fight those who choose to traffic human beings in this state,” said Commissioner Marshall L. Fisher.

The United States Attorney’s office has also partnered with the MDPS to establish the Mississippi Human Trafficking Council (MHTC) to ensure a collaborative working group to identify existing services and gaps in services.

In a victim-centered, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary model, the MHTC will work to prevent trafficking, protect victims and prosecute criminals in all forms of domestic and international human trafficking, to include commercial sex trafficking and labor trafficking, for the protection of both adult and minor victims.