Establishing a community-driven anti-human trafficking task force is essential to facilitating inter-agency collaboration. NGOs and representatives from the city-, county-, or state-level can use the Task Force Toolkit to build their own task force from the ground up. Documents that are included will help organizations form a balanced task force and strategically recruit new members who can effect change at scale. The Toolkit focuses on community-driven task forces rather than those that conduct joint investigations, but materials address how to engage law enforcement in community-based initiatives.
The Task Force Toolkit is ideal for communities seeking to grow their capacity through partnerships and collaboration. The Toolkit contains documents developed by the City of Houston to establish its own 42-member multi-disciplinary task force, known as the Houston Area Council on Human Trafficking (HAC-HT).
An initiative of the Houston Mayor’s Office, HAC-HT’s work is aligned with the 4Ps outlined in the United Nations’ Palermo Protocol: Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, and Partnerships. While law enforcement agencies are represented, HAC-HT does not conduct joint law enforcement investigations. Instead, the Mayor’s Office has adopted a community-driven approach. One example of this approach is how HAC-HT worked with law enforcement to co-develop direct outreach materials intended to increase victim identification.
The Toolkit’s contents are primarily drawn from when the then-existing Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force was restructured into HAC-HT. Materials also pre-date the appointment of the Special Advisor on Human Trafficking and Mayor Turner’s release of the City of Houston’s Anti-Human Trafficking Strategic Plan, which consolidated the City’s efforts. While HAC-HT has evolved since these materials were created, they can still be used by organizations to support their initial efforts in founding their own task force.
The Toolkit can also be used by already established law enforcement task forces to gain insight into how a community-driven task force is constituted and operates.
Included in the Task Force Toolkit are the following items:
- Timeline of Evolution of HAC-HT and Special Advisor Position
- Proposal to Reorganize Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force into HAC-HT – Part of formal proposal to the Mayor in 2015 to rebrand the task force, strategicaly double membership, and align work of proposed council with the Palermo Protocol.
- Organizational Chart of HAC-HT – Based on Palermo Protocol’s 4Ps
- Formal Invitation to Join HAC-HT – Originally written on City of Houston letterhead and sent by the Mayor’s Office
- Member List of HAC-HT
- Explanation of Commitment expected of HAC-HT Members
The City of Houston wishes to thank Terence O’Neill with the City of Houston’s Office of International Communities for his leadership and input on reformulating the Task Force.