1. What is the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF)?
Established in 2004, the mission of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) is to work together using a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach toward the common goal of combating human trafficking in Orange County. It is an enhanced collaborative model of law enforcement, victim services, prosecution, government entities, non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations, and volunteers. With the support of the community and faith-based action committee, the purpose of the OCHTTF is to address the areas of protection, prosecution, and prevention in partnership with key stakeholders.
The lead agencies include the Anaheim Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, the Costa Mesa Police Department, the Irvine Police Department, the Newport Beach Police Department, the Santa Ana Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the Orange County Probation Department, Orange County Social Services Agency, The Salvation Army, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Waymakers. With over 60 participating organizations in Orange County helping to increase education and training, close gaps in anti-trafficking efforts, and share in an exchange of services to assist the complex needs of this victim population, the purpose of the multidisciplinary collaboration is to leverage different agency functions and professional expertise.
Since 2004, the OCHTTF has assisted over 900 victims of human trafficking from 36 countries, with the majority from the United States. In 2010, the OCHTTF was one of three task forces awarded the DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance’s first grant project, the Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking, and continues to function as such to address all forms of human trafficking in Orange County.
OCHTTF Mission Statement
2. What are the signs of Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking, trafficking in persons, or modern-day slavery is a crime and a global phenomenon that involves obtaining or maintaining the labor or services of another person through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. These human rights violations can occur in the forms of commercial sex (sex trafficking) and forced labor such as domestic servitude, factory or agricultural work.
Indicators of human trafficking may include but are not limited to:
OCHTTF Human Trafficking Fact Sheet
- General Indicators- Victims are not free to leave, and are being
forced to perform labor/services
- Physical Indicators- Victims may have tattoos indicating someone
else's ownership. Injuries/scars from abuse or assault
- Financial/Legal Indicators- Someone else has possession of the
victim's legal and/or travel documents/ID. The victim is not receiving a fair wage for his/her work or owes money to his/her employer.
- Labor Camps/Sweatshops- Bars on windows; barbed wire surrounding
facility, doors that lock from the outside. Workers transported in groups and/or living together or with the employer.
- Sex Industry/Brothels- This could be a massage parlor, other place
of business, or a residence. There may be large amounts of cash and condoms on location; men come and go frequently and/or late at night.
3. Have there been any cases of human trafficking in Orange County?
Yes. The first human trafficking case surfaced in 2002 involving a 10-year-old Egyptian girl who was sold off to work as a domestic servant to help pay off a family debt. The story can be found here: Shyima's Story. Another early case in 2005 involved a 7-year-old Taiwanese girl sold to a wealthy family because her parents were very poor and could no longer care for her. Her story was featured on CNN International's Freedom Project at: Isabel's Story
Since those two notable cases, there has been over 900 victims of human trafficking assisted and 250 cases prosecuted in Orange County.
OCHTTF Human Trafficking Victim Report 2013
OCHTTF Human Trafficking Victim Report 2014
OCHTTF Human Trafficking Victim Report 2015
OCHTTF Human Trafficking Victim Report 2016
OCHTTF Human Trafficking Victim Report 2017
4. Does the OCHTTF use Volunteers?
Yes, there is a volunteer program. As a collaborative task force, the OCHTTF also depends on local communities for help with education/awareness and victim services.
Step 1: Read over the OCHTTF Volunteer Opportunities available to download in the OCHTTF Resource folder in the Download Resources link.
Step 2: Check the Events Calendar link for the next scheduled volunteer training meeting. New volunteers are highly encouraged to attend a new volunteer orienation before attending regular monthly volunteer meetings. RSVP for the new volunteer orientation online.
Step 3: Fill out the volunteer application online.
Step 4: Attend the new volunteer orientation for more information, program expectations and procedures.
*The task force does not have an ongoing internship program, but will take interns on a needs basis. The request for interns are normally vetted out through the volunteer program.
5. Is the OCHTTF General Meeting open to the public?
Yes, the OCHTTF General Meetings are open to the public and usually held on the fourth Wednesday of the month at:
10:30 AM -11:30 AM
1221 E. Dyer Rd. Ste. 120
Santa Ana, CA 92705
*Please refer to the current calendar for up-to-date information and any schedule changes*
6. Can I interview a victim?
In order to assure client confidentiality, safety, and to preserve the integrity of any investigation, interviews are only allowed with the approval of the victim/survivor, attorney, and the case manager.
The task force adheres to a victim-centered approach, which includes understanding victimology by avoiding the potential of re-victimizing or re-traumatizing a victim/survivor. Victimology is the study of victimization, including the interaction between the victim and social groups or institutions such as media. Respecting the boundaries and ability/inability of the victim to speak openly is important to the success of the victim assistance program.
7. What's the difference between human smuggling and human trafficking?
The key distinction between trafficking and smuggling lies in the individual’s freedom of choice. A person may choose and arrange to be smuggled into a country, but when a person is forced into a situation of exploitation where their freedom is taken away, they are then a victim of human trafficking.
Human Smuggling is a crime against an international border and an evasion of immigration laws; Human Trafficking is a crime against people and a violation of human rights.
Please use our Download Resources link, or call 888.3737.888 for more information.
8. What's the difference between prostitution and sex trafficking?
The key distinction between prostitution and sex trafficking is the means of how a person is prostituted - through the use of force, fraud or coercion. However, the crime of trafficking for the purpose of commercial sex of those under the age of 18 does not need to show force, fraud or coercion. Commercial sex or prostitution involving anyone under 18 is human trafficking and those who are prostituted are considered trafficking victims.
9. I'm doing a research paper. Who can I talk to for more information?
For information about human trafficking, please read through FAQ or go to the
Download Resources link and read up on information provided there. For additional information or questions, go to the
Action Line link and "request for information". Please be specific about questions that have not been provided or can be found on the website.
10. My church or club wants to be involved with the OCHTTF. Where do we start?
The OCHTTF partners with many faith and community based groups. You can begin to get involved in a couple of ways:
1. Come to an event or meeting
2. Request a community awareness speaker
Please visit our calendar for information about events to attend and/or search the calendar for upcoming events in your area.
To request a speaker, click on Action Line and complete the "request a speaker" form. Please fill out the form as instructed and be as descriptive as possible with your request.
If you have no idea how or where to even start, read AFRJ's Engage Together Church Toolkit for ideas to engage with your local community.
11. What happens when I call 888.3737.888?
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This national toll free hotline can help you determine whether you may have a case of human trafficking, identify local resources to assist victims, as well as request training and technical assistance, general information or specific anti-trafficking resources.
Call operators are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week- in many languages.
The NHTRC is operated by the Polaris Project, a non-profit, non-governmental organization and is currently a service provider under the HHS Federal Grant
NHTRC is not a law enforcement or immigration entity. However, information can be forwarded to law enforcement upon the caller’s request.
If reporting a potential trafficking tip, please specify the location of the activity, including city and county.
12. What are the elements of a good tip?
The most accurate way to help us identify whether or not you have observed a case of human trafficking is to be as descriptive as possible when giving your tip (Please see Signs of Human Trafficking)
13. I have called the National HT Hotline and I have not heard anything back. Now what?
Unless you request updates on the tip you have provided, hotline call operators will not notify you.
14. How do I request a speaker?
To request a speaker, click on Action Line and complete the Request a Community Awareness Speaker form. Please fill out the form as instructed and be as descriptive as possible with your request.
How many people will be attending the event?
What is the name of your organization?
What is the purpose of the event?
What are the times and date you would like for the event?
15. What is the difference between an Awareness event and Outreach?
Awareness events provide basic information about human trafficking to a group of people who attend at a specified meeting location, a community hall, school, church, or business.
Outreach activities take the information to the community and may include activities such as distributing information/posters to public places or providing a resource table at a neighborhood or community event directly/indirectly targeting human trafficking awareness.
16. I am a service provider, and I think one of my clients is a human trafficking victim. What do I do?
If you suspect that you have a case of human trafficking, follow your agency protocol or speak to your supervisor regarding mandated reporting. If it is an emergency, please call 9-1-1. If it is not an emergency then please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888 and you will be assisted by call operator, 24 hours a day, in any language needed. You will be given technical assistance, and referred to resources in your area.
17. How can I order Human Trafficking Awareness resources?
FREE Look Beneath the Surface materials such as posters, brochures, stickers and much more in many languages from Health and Human Services go to:www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/about/form.htm
Rescue & Restore Video Available Online
The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division's Look Beneath the Surface video is now available on YouTube in both English and Spanish. The video contains revised HHS footage and provides information on human trafficking and on how to identify and assist victims. We encourage you to show it during conferences, workshops, and training sessions to shed light on the horrors of human trafficking and to enlist other groups and individuals in anti-trafficking efforts. The video can be accessed via the following links:
For a limited supply of outreach materials from the OCHTTF, go to Action Line and "Request for Information".
18. When is human trafficking awareness day?
In 2007 the U.S. Senate designated January 11 as a National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness in an effort to raise consciousness about this global, national and local issue. In 2010, President Barack Obama proclaimed January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
On January 29, 2013, the OC Human Trafficking Task Force and Cottonwood Church co-organized a human trafficking art and awareness event, F.R.E.E. T.H.E.M. in commemoration of the day and month. The inaugural county-wide event brought in over 1,000 attendees and 40 organizations.
To learn more about 2013's event and watch a short video from last year: http://www.egovlink.com/ochumantrafficking/news/news_info.asp?id=7202
To view the video for 2014's event:
19. How is the task force funded?
The task force is primarily funded by the Department of Justice's Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force grants issued jointly by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). The statewide training grant for law enforcement and victim advocates is funded and done in partnership with the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
20. How can my organization or agency be a collaborative partner and part of the task force?
The lead agencies for the OCHTTF are the Anaheim Police Department, Community Service Programs, the Huntington Beach Police Department and the Salvation Army. Stakeholders from across various fields serving and protecting victims, as well as community organizations are what helps build a successful task force and increase capacity building for the county. The OCHTTF has over 80 collaborative partners addressing one of the pillars: protection, prevention and prosecution. Collaborative partners should sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the task force and stay updated with task force news via general or volunteer meetings.
21. Is the OCHTTF on Facebook?
Yes. You can also stay updated on the task force, human trafficking news, and network with others in the human trafficking awareness community via Facebook.