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H.E.A.T. Watch – Stop Human Exploitation and Trafficking

National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1(888) 373-7888
Alameda County H.E.A.T. Watch Tip Line: 1(510) 208-4959
Office of the District Attorney, Alameda County
Nancy E. O'Malley, District Attorney

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What is HEAT Watch?

"The primary goals of HEAT Watch are victim safety and trafficker accountability. The mission of the HEAT Watch program is to build and increase the capacity of all first responders, professionals who interface with victims and those at-risk, and communities where trafficking occurs, to effectively respond to and combat HEAT in their jurisdictions. HEAT Watch provides its partners with effective and proven strategies to improve local, regional, and national capacity to identify, intervene in, investigate, and prosecute HEAT cases while supporting and protecting those who are victims or are at-risk for victimization.

“It takes a village to rescue a trafficking victim and prosecute a trafficker,” says Nancy O’Malley, Alameda County District Attorney. Based on this reality, HEAT Watch combats the HEAT epidemic from a collaborative and coordinated multi-system approach. Critical to achieving successful outcomes is breaking down traditional silos and working collaboratively and comprehensively.

HEAT Watch is a five-point collaborative strategy – a Blueprint -- providing a comprehensive response to effectively combating human trafficking. The five components are: 1) supporting victims 2) robust community engagement; 3) training for first responders and community; 4) vigorous prosecution; 5) education of and advocacy to policy makers. This strategic approach recognizes that the Blueprint is only as strong as the joint involvement and commitment of law enforcement agencies, first responders, service providers, prosecutors, and community members.

What is also abundantly clear is that human trafficking is not limited to one area. By its definition and practice, victims of human trafficking are moved from community to community so a regional approach to combating human trafficking has become a critical strategy. Because HEAT knows no borders, HEAT Watch reaches beyond the local jurisdictions that it serves to collaborate regionally and nationally, and enable partners who are combating HEAT, to replicate in their jurisdictions the successes HEAT Watch has achieved in Alameda County.

HEAT Watch has been successfully implemented in the Bay Area and in communities across the state and country. “Our HEAT Watch blueprint guides other communities in their effort to combat exploitation in their neighborhoods. This is more than geographic regionalization; this must be an organization of community partners cooperating for one common goal. We extend an invitation to our surrounding counties to participate in HEAT Watch, and join our local, regional and national efforts to combat human trafficking,” says O’Malley. "

Human Exploitation and Trafficking (H.E.A.T.) Watch Blueprint
FIVE POINT STRATEGY

  1. COMMUNITY: We empower the community by dispelling myths & misconceptions about this form of child abuse. We also teach them how to identify & report human trafficking. Our community programs include H.E.A.T. Watch Radio & Neighborhood H.E.A.T. Watch.
  2. LAW ENFORCEMENT: Our Office has trained law enforcement officers from Alameda County agency, along with various other agencies throughout the nation.
  3. PROSECUTION: Our vertical H.E.A.T. Unit consists of two District Attorneys, a victim-witness advocate & an inspector.
  4. LAW & POLICY: The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has drafted, sponsored, advised & supported key pieces of human trafficking related legislation in CA.
  5. SERVICE PROVIDERS: We convene a multidisciplinary case review called SafetyNet that provides case management & stabilization for victims. We also oversee the Young Women’s Saturday Program, a 16-week education & empowerment course for at risk & involved commercially sexually exploited youth.

Supporting Victims

The HEAT Watch puts victims first. This philosophy lies at the root of Alameda County District Attorney’s Office nationally recognized record of success of rescuing victims and holding their exploiters accountable. Our close partnership with and effective coordination of service providers ensure linkages to essential services for victim safety, stabilization and recovery. Our team takes a victim-centered approach, recognizing that these victims are particularly vulnerable and must be supported at every stage in the investigation and prosecution of these cases. Essential services are provided from point of first contact, and continue through the court process and beyond. HEAT Watch strives to address HEAT on a comprehensive and holistic basis by providing victims with resources they need to be self-sufficient and safe, by reaching out to those who can help identify, rescue, and protect them from abuse, and by holding those who

Community Engagement

Community involvement remains a priority of the District Attorney’s Office. From educating young people to participating in neighborhood meetings and senior citizen informational gatherings, our Office places a high value on interaction with all members of the Alameda County community. Based on the Neighborhood Watch model, HEAT Watch educates and engages community members, from local businesses and groups to schools and faith based organizations, enabling them to serve as the eyes and ears of their neighborhoods to keep their communities safe. Just as Neighborhood Watch keeps streets and neighbors safe from victimization, HEAT Watch challenges businesses and communities to collectively open their eyes and ears, WATCH, and take ACTION to keep the most vulnerable in our society safe from exploitation. The HEAT Watch program has engaged community through the initiatives described in this section.

Training

HEAT Watch is committed, on a local, regional and national level, to training all first responders, a term which we interpret broadly to include all professionals, not just police, who are on the front lines or in a position in the community where there is a high likelihood of interfacing with and recovering human trafficking victims.

Prosecution

Policy and Laws

Task Forces