Throughout this course, one point has been driven home more so than any other. Intelligence failures are the result of a breakdown in communication between the IC. There are 16 intelligence organizations that are part of the U.S. intelligence community including(but not limited to) the CIA, the Department of Energy, The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, as well as individual military intelligence agencies including Army Intelligence and Coast Guard Intelligence. With this many agencies involved in the collection of intelligence, “the importance and urgency of intelligence integration cannot be overstated. Our progress cannot stop. The Intelligence Community must continue to promote collaboration among experts in every field, from the political and social sciences to natural sciences, medicine, military issues, and space. Collectors and analysts need vision across disciplines to understand how and why developments—and both state and unaffiliated actors—can spark sudden changes with international implications.” (Clapper 2014) This indicates that it is imperative that the IC communicate with one another. Without sharing information it will be difficult, if not impossible for the IC to connect the dots and create a cohesive intelligence picture.
Increasingly the IC will have to focus on topics that have more to do with law enforcement and less to do with strict national security concerns. For example, transnational organized crime has the potential to impact law enforcement and national security in the future. “Transnational organized crime (TOC) networks erode good governance, cripple the rule of law through corruption, hinder economic competitiveness, steal vast amounts of money, and traffic millions of people around the globe” (Clapper 2014) While TOC will impact law enforcement and national security in a variety of ways, one area that has the potential to cause the most harm(and it a humanitarian issue in addition to being a law enforcement and national security issue) is the area of human trafficking.
Human Trafficking or “Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.” (UNODC) The U.S. is in a unique position in the discussion of human trafficking in that it is not only a destination country(for trafficking victims) but is also a nation that is also engaged in trafficking(women are trafficked from one area of the U.S. to another). Human trafficking is defined as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.” (UNODC) Men, women and children find their way into becoming victims of trafficking by looking for economic improvement, trafficked individuals will respond to adds that claim to be willing to assist the victim with transportation to another nation (or area of a nation) for economic gain (moving for work) only to be forced into the commercial sex industry or in garment manufacturing. The reason that human trafficking poses a threat to U.S. law enforcement as well as national security is the fact that “The MS-13 gang got its start among immigrants from El Salvador in the 1980s. Since then, the gang has built operations in 42 states, mostly out West and in the Northeastern United States, where members typically deal in drugs and weapons.” (Johnson) However MS-13 is now beginning to move into the human trafficking arena. “In Fairfax County, Va., one of the wealthiest places in the country, authorities have brought five cases in the past year that focuses on gang members who have pushed women, sometimes very young women, into prostitution.” (Johnson) In addition to selling drugs and weapons, street gangs are also beginning to become involved in human trafficking because, “It's easy money for MS-13 — thousands of dollars in a weekend, with virtually no costs. Except for alcohol and drugs to try to keep the girls off-kilter.” (Johnson) Whereas drugs and weapons are a finite resource(there is only so much to go around) trafficking victims are an almost unlimited source of income “Usually, investigators say, gang members charge between $30 and $50 a visit, and the girls are forced into prostitution 10 to 15 times a day.” (Johnson) Victims can be sold multiple times a day and will provide a nearly constant income.
MS-13 is not the only street gang that has become involved with human trafficking. FBI Special Agent Robert Howe explains “rival street gangs like the BMS, the Neighborhood Crips and Brim have put aside their differences over turf and drugs, and have struck up alliances to sell women and girls, some as young as 12” (Sharma) The reason behind street gangs increasingly becoming involved in human trafficking is the same reason the MS-13 initially became involved in trafficking, the almost unlimited supply of money that a trafficking victim can generate for a gang ““You have a product that you don’t have to keep in inventory,” San Diego U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said. “You don’t have to purchase it. You don’t have to wait for the money to come back on this product and then buy it from the supplier. You are not as exposed as you are if you are caught with drugs to being caught with a woman or being a girl.” (Sharma) As demonstrated, street gangs are starting to realize that forcing trafficking victims into the commercial sex industry is more lucrative than selling weapons and drugs due to the fact that weapons and narcotics are in limited supply, there is only so much, whereas trafficking victims can be sold multiple times a night. Additionally with the internet, street gangs are at less risk of apprehension. “Smartphones, social media and websites like Backpage.Com have turned two-bit drug gangs into entrepreneurs. They not only track competitors’ tactics but also keep tabs on police investigations too.” (Sharma) The sale of women are taking place across the internet which is making it harder for law enforcement organizations to identify gangs involved in trafficking and/or identify victims of trafficking. In addition to this, street gangs are beginning to form larger criminal organizations that are involved in trafficking “A federal indictment against 24 North Park gang members and associates unsealed this month revealed a powerful and sophisticated sex trafficking network across 46 cities and 23 states. Sixty girls were rescued, 11 were under 18.” (Sharma) Human trafficking has become a large criminal enterprise in the United States and should be expected to grow over the next few years.
Due to the fact that human trafficking has the potential to become an increased law enforcement issue in the future, law enforcement organizations have increasingly looked for methods to combat human trafficking, “The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 established the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center. The Center serves as a clearinghouse for all information related to human smuggling and trafficking. Subject-matter experts with expertise in intelligence analysis, law enforcement collaboration and support and diplomacy staff the Center.” (ICE) The behind the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center is to provide one centralized location where law enforcement organizations can find information regarding human trafficking. This center was designed to combat intelligence failures, as it will allow the 16 major intelligence organizations, as well as law enforcement organizations the ability to check one centralized location for information on trafficking.
Additionally “The Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, within the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State, was established as a result of Section 7202 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The goal of the center is to achieve greater integration and overall effectiveness in the U.S. government’s enforcement and other response efforts and work with other governments to address the separate but related issues of alien smuggling, trafficking in persons, and criminal support of clandestine terrorist travel. The center’s functions include facilitating broad dissemination of all source information, preparing strategic assessments, identifying issues for interagency coordination or attention, and coordinating antismuggling or -trafficking initiatives as well as providing support.” (ICE) Human trafficking has been identified as both a law enforcement and intelligence issue, law enforcement need the information to apprehend traffickers that information will come from intelligence organizations that will have the ability to identify traffickers and track them and their victims to their destination location.
One final word about human trafficking, it can become a national security issue due to the fact that trafficking routes can also be used by terrorist organizations to smuggle insurgents into the U.S. so that they can perpetrate terrorist attacks within the United States.
Clapper, James R. Statement for the record on the worldwide threat assessment of the US intelligence community, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 2014.
ICE. "Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center." Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center. https://www.ice.gov/human-smuggling-trafficking-center/ (accessed September 23, 2014).
Johnson, Carrie. "Gangs Enter New Territory With Sex Trafficking." NPR. http://www.npr.org/2011/11/14/142300731/gangs-enter-new-territory-with-sex-trafficking (accessed September 23, 2014).
Sharma, Amita."Sex Trafficking Overtakes Drugs As San Diego County Gang's Top Cash Source." KPBS Public Broadcasting. http://www.kpbs.org/news/2014/jan/27/sex-trafficking-overtakes-drugs-san-diego-county-g/ (accessed September 23, 2014).
UNODC. "What is Human Trafficking." United Nations Drug and Crime. https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html (accessed September 23, 2014).