Georgia officials announce HEAT unit to combat human trafficking

Georgia News

ATLANTA (WSAV) – State officials had strong words for those involved in human trafficking crimes in Georgia on Wednesday.

“This governor and the first lady have made it abundantly clear that we will not tolerate this behavior in the state of Georgia,” said Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Director Vic Reynolds said during a press conference.

“The GBI is coming after you,” he added.

Reynolds announced the new HEAT, or Human Exploitation and Trafficking, unit which focuses on the enforcement efforts on commercial and labor trafficking, in addition to rescuing victims.

“The ultimate vision for this unit is that it become a multi-agency task force,” Reynolds said, comparing it to the GBI Gang Task Force.

The unit, made up of six individuals, in part, thanks to grant funding, launched on July 1. HEAT intends to use existing partnerships, including with the GBI Financial Investigations Unit, to tackle human trafficking.

This is a cause First Lady Marty Kemp has taken on, focusing on ending human trafficking and protecting children in Georgia.

She helped form GRACE, or the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education Commission, made up of public officials, law enforcement, for-profit and non-profit organizations, faith-based institutions, and subject matter experts.

“We’ve made huge strides in the fight against human trafficking in Georgia, but as you know, there is still much work left to be done,” said Gov. Brian Kemp.

“We will not rest until we have ended that evil industry in our state,” he added.

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