Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit (HEAT)
The Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit (HEAT) was created by the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) in response to the passage of Proposition 35, which increased the penalty for human trafficking and reformed human trafficking laws. Human exploitation and trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise globally at $32 billion and the second largest criminal enterprise in the nation. Human traffickers and pimps often use social media to target, groom, and recruit victims to sexually exploit for financial gain. Once recruited, the victims are often branded, trafficked, isolated, and forced to turn over their earnings through physical force and/or duress.
The HEAT Unit works closely with the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) to proactively protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation.
The OCHTTF is a partnership between;
- Anaheim Police Department
- California Highway Patrol
- Irvine Police Department
- Orange County Probation Department
- Orange County Social Services Agency
- Other community and non-profit partners.
- Santa Ana Police Department
- US Attorney’s Office
The HEAT Unit takes a comprehensive approach to end modern-day slavery through a tactical plan called “PERP.” The PERP model aims to achieve vigorous Prosecution of human trafficking and exploitation crimes, Education of law enforcement, students and community members, Resources from public-private partnerships to raise awareness about the crime and Publicity about these crimes.
Common Penal Code Sections that apply in these cases include PC Sections 266h – Pimping, 266i – Pandering, 236.1 – Human Trafficking, and 236.4 – GBI in Human Trafficking.