In November of 2006, the Department Justice awarded a grant to the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and the International Institute of Buffalo for the purpose of identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking and prosecuting those engaged in trafficking offenses. As a result, the Human Trafficking Task Force and Alliance of the Western District of New York (WNYHTTFA) was formed.
The WNYHTTFA is a multi-disciplinary task force that brings law enforcement and social and legal service agencies together to work on human trafficking cases. The task force is a joint project of the Erie County Sherriff’s Office and the International Institute of Buffalo, together with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York. The Western District of New York includes the following counties; (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates)
Under this grant, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office is the lead local law enforcement in combating human trafficking by conducting proactive investigations and initiating trauma-informed and victim-centered trainings for law enforcement officers, prosecutors, EMS and firefighters, as well as training non-government organizations, including the public.
Please contact Detective Theresa Nietzel by e-mail at Theresa.Nietzel@erie.gov with any human trafficking concerns.