GBI announces creation of new human trafficking unit

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has unveiled a new effort to combat human trafficking in the state.  The GBI now has a unit called the "Human Exploitation and Trafficking" or "HEAT" unit.  

"You will not sell human beings in the State of Georgia. We are committed to ending the scourge of modern-day slavery and we're committed to ending it now," said GBI Director Vic Reynolds.

Reynolds, along with Gov. Brian Kemp, Attorney General Chris Carr and others spoke during a news conference to announce the new push at the state Capitol Wednesday.  

"We've made huge strides in the fight against human trafficking in Georgia, but as you know, there is still much work to be done and we are not letting up," said Gov. Kemp, who campaigned on ending trafficking activity in Georgia.  

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The unit will be made up of six GBI agents.  Two of the positions are funded through a grant from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.  

Reynolds said the HEAT unit will focus on commercial sex trafficking, labor trafficking and rescuing victims.  The agents will work with local law enforcement officers to investigate crimes statewide.

"What we're hoping and expecting is that when our first responders--let's say that an officer stops a car at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and there's something unusual about that stop and their radar goes up, that you know, this may be a trafficking victim, that's the perfect time to get us involved in a case," Reynolds explained.  

The CJCC grant is for three years, but after that Reynolds said he hopes the unit's work will be up to the level they expect and that money can be added to the GBI's budget to fund it in the future.  

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