Human Trafficking Task Force
On Feb. 9, 2022 Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart – along with John Lausch, U.S. Attorney for the Nothern District of Illinois, Pat Davenport, the CEO of A Safe Place, John Idleburg, the Lake County Sheriff, Laz Perez, North Chicago Police Chief, Douglas Goodwater, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office for the FBI, and Richard Fitzgerald, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office for Homeland Security Investigations – announced the Lake County Human Trafficking Task Force, which is dedicated to curbing sex and labor trafficking in Lake County.
This Task Force is directed by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office and is a collaboration between prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, and victim service providers. It is funded by the Department of Justice grant to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office and victim services organization A Safe Place. The Lake County Human Trafficking Task Force works in partnership with the Lake County Coalition Against Human Trafficking to connect investigators, prosecutors, victim service providers, and the community in a joint mission to end trafficking in Lake County.
Lake County is the second county in Illinois to secure this extremely competitive grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, a division of the Department of Justice. The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office and A Safe Place were one of only six applicants that received this grant in fiscal year 2021, called the Enhanced Collaborative Model Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking.
Assistant State’s Attorney Kyle Doyle is the lead task force prosecutor, which will expand and deepen victim support, enhance trafficking prosecutions at all levels, and vastly increase public awareness.
Because of this Task Force, traffickers who would threaten, exploit, and abuse others for their own profit will be caught and brought to justice.
Only 34 human trafficking-related prosecutions were brought in the county from 2010 to 2020 - often due to survivors being too isolated or too scared to cooperate with law enforcement. We cannot reach the courtroom without survivors' stories coming to light, and this Task Force makes those connections with victims, and when they come forward, every resource available will be used to bring these traffickers to justice.