The result of the latest election unseats Tony Rackauckas and his 20-year tenure as the District Attorney of Orange County. Under the leadership of Rackauckas, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) fought against trafficking through the establishment of the Human Exploitation and Trafficking (HEAT) Unit in 2013. The Unit has since administered more than 550 cases that resulted in federal convictions or prison sentences. Additionally, since 2017, Rackauckas and the OCDA participated in the “Strike Out Slavery” awareness festival to promote education against modern slavery.
It is to be determined how Todd Spitzer will change the leadership the OCDA to combat human trafficking. In the past, he served as Statewide Chairman of Marsy’s Law to secure victim rights and worked as an OC Deputy and Assistant DA where he claimed to have dealt with cases involving human trafficking. Before the election, Spitzer was Third District Supervisor and a board member of the OC Transit Authority. In 2014, he belonged to the development of the “Be the One” campaign to publicize labor and sex trafficking through public transportation.
During the campaign, Spitzer boasted representing all victim groups as one of his top priorities. He referenced past contributions to victim rights and work he accomplished in the OCDA as proof of the direction he wanted his leadership to go. Hopefully, Spitzer stays true to campaign promises, and the rate of human trafficking in Orange County decreases.
What You Can Do to Help:
Stay Informed and Aware: The OCDA intermediately updates information regarding cases, warning signs for members of the hospitality industry, and details about its HEAT Unit. In 2012, Proposition 35 passed and increased the punishment for human trafficking. The law helps facilitate successful prosecutions of perpetrators.
Additional information can be found here: http://orangecountyda.org/media/human_trafficking_infomation.asp
Report Suspicious Behavior: The first step to becoming an active abolitionist is to become informed of warning signs. However, nongovernmental organizations and the OCDA welcome any news regarding questionable behavior or situations possibly leading to cases. Any tip can provide valuable information, as human traffickers and victims sometimes frequent familiar locations.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is an organization funded by donors and the Department of Health and Human Services. Individuals can call, text, email, or submit online information forms in over 200 languages any time or day of the week. is not a direct rescue or law enforcement agency, but all submissions are forwarded to appropriate agencies.
Call 1-888-373-7888 Text 233733 Website https://humantraffickinghotline.org
Crimes can be reported to the OCDA. However, most cases should be contacted to local law enforcement agencies before the OCDA can take over.
The list of Orange County cities contacts can be found here: http://orangecountyda.org/howdoi/reportcrime.asp
The Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force is a broad institution involving law enforcement, the OCDA, government entities and victim resources in the county. Its website includes a comprehensive list of information and warning signals, the yearly Trafficking Persons Report, and guidelines for providing a useful bystander tip to agencies. It holds a meeting every 4th Wednesday each month that is open to the public.