The Guardian Group Story
Guardian Group stands at the intersection of duty and compassion, providing specific, actionable intelligence to law enforcement and government personnel tasked with fighting human trafficking. Our unique, targeted approach to disrupting and reducing the facilitation of trafficking in all of its aspects aids and complements other efforts, helping to restore freedom, safety and dignity to victims, and bringing solutions – and hope – to those who serve and care for them.
Guardian Group was born out of in-depth research on best practices in the fight against human trafficking in the United States. For two years, we studied the strategies used and services offered by government and non-government entities to halt this horrific crime.
We discovered that a significant gap in intelligence gathering and training existed between resource-constrained law enforcement agencies and the rapidly expanding network of predators who ply their highly profitable crime in the shadows and along the fringes of society. We also learned that although existing organizations have experienced some success in the rescue and rehabilitation of victims, this strategy is by nature defensive and reactive.
These breakthrough findings convinced us that a new operational prototype was needed to address and fight this crime more effectively. We determined that a specialized team could make a huge impact with a proactive, multi-faceted offensive strategy that targets and disrupts trafficking networks before their actions can result in more human tragedy.
Today, Guardian Group continues to stand in the gap using innovative counter-trafficking technology, and by delivering focused training, targeted networking and better resource coordination to our growing list of global partners. Our focus on predators and their networks, specifically those involved in child sex trafficking, has already resulted in positive outcomes in hundreds of cases. While the rescue of exploited children remains paramount, our offensive advantage often enables us to disrupt the cycle before rescue becomes necessary.
Human trafficking is universally recognized as a form of modern day slavery. And although it has long been viewed as a crime that occurs only in distant countries, the reality is that it affects every city and community in the United States. This cultural blind spot is one of the biggest roadblocks in the successful pursuit and prosecution of this crime, for even those who acknowledge the hard truth of “it can happen here” rarely grasp the scale at which it occurs.
According to the International Labour Organization, (ILO), human trafficking has become the fastest growing and most profitable crime in existence. Worldwide, it is estimated the 21 million people a year become victims of some form of trafficking or forced labor. One out of four of these are children, and more than half are women and girls.
In the United States, the most common form of human trafficking is the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children. This crime is currently a $100 billion-a-year industry worldwide, and is on the rise in all 50 states. According to data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the United States experienced a 35.7 percent increase in human trafficking from 2015 to 2016, and it is estimated that as many as 300,000 children in the U.S. are lured into the commercial sex trade each year. In addition, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 1 in 6 runaways reported in 2016 were likely trafficking victims, so it is highly probable that the number of exploited children in the United States is even higher.
Traffickers recruit their victims in many ways: through the Internet and acquaintances, newspaper ads, front businesses, word of mouth and abduction. The rapid increase of Internet escort services and the transient environment of hotels allow buyers to quickly arrange the purchase of a human being for sex. This crime is so lucrative that former drug dealers are now shifting their focus to it. Drugs can only be sold once, but human trafficking victims can be abused multiple times, generating a high volume of cash for traffickers with virtually no upfront costs.
This issue continues to be complicated by current shortcomings in U.S. counter-trafficking efforts, and the number of prosecutions involving human trafficking remains alarmingly low. In the absence of a centralized or integrated training and investigative element, it is difficult for law enforcement and legal channels to focus on and exploit intelligence in a timely manner. This delay often provides ample time for human trafficking networks to simply move on to set up shop elsewhere.
To offset these and other issues, cooperation among private enterprise, law enforcement and the justice system must be enhanced, so each group can more easily initiate and conduct investigations that produce prosecutable evidence. The ability for diverse human trafficking organizations to share information must also be improved in order for all parties to succeed in their respective missions.
Guardian Group is dedicated to the creation and application of workable, scalable solutions designed to illuminate and disrupt trafficking networks, drive them out of business and help restore freedom, safety and dignity to victims.
Our methodology is simple; each day, we bring the fight to human trafficking at its source and the point of demand. We work relentlessly to stop predators before they can act. We support the integration of private agencies with law enforcement and recovery options, and execute thorough resource coordination with others in the counter-trafficking battle. Finally, we are constantly adding to our nationwide network of teams to coordinate rescue and provide restoration for victims.
To improve our partners’ understanding of all aspects of human trafficking, we deliver professional recognition and response training that targets law enforcement, the hospitality and travel industries, task forces, victim service providers and anti-trafficking organizations. These unique programs are comprehensive and nationwide in scope, and are designed to help community partners understand current trends, emerging practices in enforcement and investigation and the challenges associated with serving victims.
Intelligence is vital to discovering victims and locating networks of offenders. We create and implement effective information gathering and dissemination practices that increase the capacity of law enforcement and prosecution teams, and have taught thousands of front-line employees of the hotel and travel industries to better identify, report and respond to incidents.
Guardian Group selectively employs retired law enforcement personnel and U.S. Veterans, specifically those from within the intelligence, analytics and tactical divisions of Army Special Operations Forces. These skilled individuals work out of Regional Operating Centers (ROCs) placed strategically in major metropolitan centers throughout the United States.
Each team member draws upon decades of experience fusing intelligence and operations to achieve counter network effects against human trafficking at the national level. We collaborate through our strategic partnerships with worldwide, world-class organizations that understand the social and business benefits of tackling this exponentially increasing social injustice.