GBI Launches New Human Trafficking Investigations Unit
Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp, First Lady Marty Kemp, Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Director Vic Reynolds, Attorney General Chris Carr, and Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) Executive Director Jay Neal, today announced the creation of a new Human Exploitation and Trafficking (HEAT) Unit to be housed within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
"I am proud of the work that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has done in the fight against human trafficking," said Governor Kemp. "With this new HEAT Unit, Director Reynolds will have the resources he needs to crack down on this criminal enterprise and ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. By coordinating our efforts with the First Lady's GRACE Commission, Attorney General Chris Carr, and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, Georgia is making huge strides in combating this evil industry."
"Today, we take another important step forward in the fight to end human trafficking," said First Lady Marty Kemp. "I want to applaud Director Reynolds and his team for their hard work in creating this new unit. I am confident it will be a force for good in our state."
The HEAT Unit will focus on the enforcement efforts of commercial sex trafficking and labor trafficking as well as the rescue of adult trafficking victims. It will be led by a special agent in charge and an assistant special agent in charge. As a startup, the unit will be staffed with four special agents.
"As a proud co-chair of the First Lady’s GRACE Commission, I am pleased to announce the GBI standing up a brand new work unit to combat the evil plague of human trafficking," said Director Vic Reynolds. "The exploitation and trafficking of persons is a problem that affects all areas of the state and all walks of life. The problem is so serious that at times, victims don’t even realize they are victims. With a concentrated effort on identifying traffickers and victims, we strive to make Georgia a safer place to live for all."
“Our office is excited to welcome the GBI’s new HEAT Unit to the fight against human trafficking,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “Their presence will increase Georgia’s comprehensive approach to eradicating human trafficking - in all its forms - and our Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit looks forward to working together to protect Georgia.”
"By continuing to innovate and tackle this issue in victim-centered, multidisciplinary, and collaborative ways, Georgia is continuing to show survivors that Georgia stands with them and will continue to provide the resources needed to combat human trafficking - until that war is won and human traffickers no longer call Georgia home," said Executive Director Jay Neal.
Watch the full announcement here.