For Immediate Release

April 26, 2013

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718


Farrah Emami
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486



*DA Rackauckas introduces new Unit to combat human exploitation and trafficking


SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas announced today at the Victims’ Rights March and Rally a new unit to prosecute Human Exploitation And Trafficking (HEAT) cases. Orange County is a diverse melting-pot with a large ethnic population, multiple tourist attractions, and is surrounded by large, urban counties, which has made it susceptible to human traffickers. Human trafficking cases have recently increased in Orange County, with many cases involving underage victims and/or brothels. The new Unit was created to deal with this increasing problem.


The new vertical prosecution HEAT Unit will be coordinated and supervised by Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder and Assistant District Attorney Ted Burnett, and will be composed of two assigned deputy district attorneys, a District Attorney Investigator, and support staff who will dedicate their time to aggressively prosecute these unique and complex cases. The team will work with law enforcement to target perpetrators of human exploitation and trafficking, while taking a comprehensive approach to solve the problem and bring community stakeholders together.


The HEAT Unit will use a tactical plan called PERP – Prosecution, Education, Resources, and Publicity. In addition to prosecuting cases, the Unit will provide law enforcement training to properly handle human trafficking and pandering investigations and prosecutions. The team will seek resources through public-private partnerships to raise public awareness about the prevalence of human trafficking and provide assistance to the victims seeking an alternative to the streets and their abusers. The OCDA will publicize HEAT cases to send a message to human traffickers and sex purchasers that they can no longer perpetuate this problem without suffering severe consequences.  


This is what District Attorney Rackauckas stated at the Victims’ Rights March and Rally today:


In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said in his Emancipation Proclamation that “all persons held as slaves… henceforward shall be free.” Today, 150 years later, we have been given a new mandate – to abolish the modern-slavery that is commercial sexual exploitation of women and children. I want to share with you the Orange County District Attorney’s office’s plans to meet that mandate.


Author and economist Kevin Bales described, “Slavery is about one person controlling another person using violence and then exploiting them economically, paying them nothing.” 


Human exploitation and trafficking generally come in two forms – first in the form of forced labor, and the majority in the form of commercial sexual exploitation.  Unfortunately, California is a major hub for human trafficking in the United States based on its geography and demographics.