DA Cannizzaro creates SALT unit to prosecute New Orleans human trafficking cases
September 19, 2019
For Immediate Release

Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro on Thursday (Sept. 19) announced the creation of a specialized multi-agency unit that will coordinate and carry out the prosecutions of human trafficking cases in New Orleans.

The SALT unit (Sex and Labor Trafficking) will operate under the direction of Assistant District Attorney Carolyn Livanos, working in conjunction with investigators from the FBI, Louisiana State Police, New Orleans Police Department, Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office and other agencies. Livanos also will serve as chief prosecutor for human trafficking cases instituted by the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office.

“As we ratchet up our response to the prevalence of human trafficking in New Orleans, it was important to improve the focus and efficiency of our prosecutions,” Cannizzaro said. “Bringing all such cases under the umbrella of the SALT unit will enable us to better coordinate with investigative partners, manage these cases from institution through resolution, and help us achieve more consistent outcomes for these predatory

Livanos, who joined the OPDA’s office in January 2018, said she was excited to head the new unit. She initially inherits eight open cases of alleged human trafficking involving nearly two dozen defendants in five different sections of Criminal District Court.

“These are complicated cases, with unique evidentiary challenges,” Livanos said. “They often involve multiple defendants and extremely vulnerable juvenile victims. We frequently see them associated with attempts at victim intimidation and/or witness tampering.

“Most often, the cases involve underage girls being recruited by these predators, being brought to New Orleans, and being forced into dangerous acts of prostitution. But we also will address other instances of human trafficking, such as cases involving undocumented persons being brought into the city as forced labor. Those types of cases still are rare in New Orleans, but are becoming increasingly common in other border and port cities. This unit will enable us to stay ahead of the curve and attuned to new trafficking methods and trends.”