McLennan County Sheriff’s Office detective honored with prestigious award for work combating human trafficking

Joe Scaramucci presented with prestigious ‘Light the Way to End Human Trafficking Award’
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 7:10 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A local sheriff’s detective was given a prestigious statewide honor for his role in fighting human trafficking not only locally, statewide, and nationwide - but around the globe.

Joe Scaramucci with the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office was presented with the “Light the Way to End Human Trafficking Award” at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services annual summit at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas.

“It was an extremely proud moment,” Scaramucci told KWTX. “This is only the second time that that award has ever been handed out, so to be given that award on a state level, is just very humbling.”

Rochelle Keyhan, CEO and founder of Collective Liberty, a national nonprofit based in Washington D.C. that helps fight human trafficking, nominated Scaramucci for the award.

The former prosecutor first met him in 2016 when she was part of a team that ran the national human trafficking hotline.

“As we tracked the arrests and prosecutions all over the country, we kept seeing this Sherriff’s detective from Waco pop in the news,” Keyhan said.

“And we were like ‘okay, not only is he popping up talking about trafficking, but he’s doing a lot of it right.’ He figured it out, organically, based on how victims responded to the investigations and what was working to stop the traffickers and he adjusted. So, seeing that play out, we were like, ‘we got to meet this guy.’”

Scaramucci was invited to give a presentation at one of the group’s trainings and the relationship has never stopped.

Keyhan later founded Collective Liberty, which has worked with over 9,000 investigators and 360 agencies across 46 states, but no one is better than Joe, she says.

“He’s our go-to rock star,” Keyhan said. “He does these trainings with us all over the country.”

Scaramucci started his career in law enforcement in 2004 and created the Human Trafficking Unit in Waco in 2014.

Since that time, he’s conducted sting operations resulting in the arrests of 550 sex buyers and 155 individuals for human trafficking and related offenses, which has led to the identification of 265 trafficking victims.

“When we see these awards like this pop up, like this DFPS one, and we were reading it and the emphasis was on people who have that light shining from within and generously share that light with others and it just was literally describing him,” Keyhan said.

The detective said his work which takes place as close as Central Texas and as far away as Ukraine wouldn’t be possible without the support of the entire McLennan County Sheriff’s Office.

“The award honestly is very demonstrative of the work that’s being done in the Sherriff’s office as a whole. Having the detectives help out as much as they do, it really is a team effort. And having the support of the administration that we have speaks volumes to the amount that we’re able to accomplish,” Scaramucci said.

“We’ll just keep on doing what we can to educate and hold traffickers accountable.”

Learn more about the Light the Way to End Human Trafficking Award.

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