As part of his continuing mission to prevent and combat human trafficking in his jurisdiction, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler is pleased to announce he has hired a nationally recognized expert with years of expertise in the field.
Daniel Steele joins the office’s human trafficking team as a criminal investigator, bringing 22 years of experience to the important unit.
Steele comes to the 18th from the Denver Police Department. While there, he worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to found the Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force, which he supervised for five years. The task force includes federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies that work with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices to combat sex trafficking of children.
In 2015, Steele was awarded the Colorado Attorney General’s Excellence in Law Enforcement Award, which is presented annually to one “peace officer who has exhibited extraordinary efforts of valor, crime prevention, investigative work, community outreach and other law enforcement functions.”
In addition to his law enforcement work, Steele has a military background, having served in the U.S. Air Force.
Sex traffickers target vulnerable members of the community. Victims can be male or female, adults or juveniles, and they can live in urban areas or rural districts.
The Colorado legislature strengthened the state’s human trafficking law in 2014, better aligning state and federal law. The new state statute heightened potential penalties and made it clear a minor cannot consent, among other things. The law reads: “A person who knowingly sells, recruits, harbors, transports, transfers, isolates, induces, entices, provides, receives, or obtains by any means another person for the purpose of coercing the other person to perform labor or services commits human trafficking for involuntary servitude.”
Recognizing the importance and complexities of human trafficking prosecutions, District Attorney Brauchler sought and received funding in July 2015 from the commissioners of the four counties that make up the 18th Judicial District. He established a dedicated human trafficking unit.
The unit coordinates with state and local groups, provides education and prevention efforts in the community and brings justice for trafficking victims. The team won a guilty verdict in the first case in the state to go to trial under the 2014 trafficking statute.
“These cases are frequently difficult to prosecute,” said District Attorney Brauchler. “Victims can be reluctant to testify, and witnesses frequently come from troubled backgrounds and tough circumstances. Our team understands the complexities and works to hold traffickers accountable and help vulnerable victims. I’m pleased to be able to add Dan Steele’s expertise to our efforts.”