HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Hartford State’s Attorney’s Office partnered with Connecticut Children’s Alliance to form a Regionalized Human Trafficking Recovery Task Force.

Through collaboration with local police departments and agencies, the task force will work to end and prevent all human trafficking in the state and address the needs of victims.

According to the U.S. Department of State, worldwide, there are an estimated 27. 6 million victims of human trafficking at any given time.

“We know it’s a huge problem, and we know Connecticut is not immune to it,” said Krystal Rich, executive director of the Connecticut Children’s Alliance.

The task force will focus on sex trafficking and workforce trafficking for victims of all ages, both children and adults.

There are eight participating police departments in the Greater Hartford area committed to supporting the task force:

  • Bloomfield
  • East Hartford
  • Glastonbury
  • Hartford
  • Manchester
  • South Windsor
  • West Hartford
  • Windsor

“The need in Hartford and the Greater Hartford region to come up with a new approach, an innovative way to look at these cases, is evident in the mission of the task force,” Chief State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin said.

Those involved say the force will make data-driven decisions and use coordinated training to identify victims of human trafficking. There will be an emphasis on collaboration to use resources to the fullest. The force plans to conduct proactive investigations, no matter how limited information exists.  

“We’re going to review all cases, not just cases that are reviewed for prosecution, but we’re going to start at the investigation stage. We’re looking at the missing children, we’re looking at the runaways, we’re looking at those who are showing red flags,” Hartford State’s Attorney Sharmese Walcott said.

The state plans to use this task force as a model to implement in other parts of the state.