Bill Woolf has dedicated his personal and professional life to combatting human trafficking – most notably being recognized by receiving the Presidential Medal for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons. He started his professional career as a police officer where he was promoted to the position of detective and was assigned to work on the Gang Investigations Unit. While doing this work, he quickly became aware of an emerging problem in his region, human trafficking. Mr. Woolf learned that gangs were transitioning from other profitable crimes, such as narcotics trafficking, to human trafficking as a source of income for their illicit activities. Mr. Woolf sought out to better understand the problem and in doing so he learned how prevalent the issue was domestically in the United States, as well as internationally. From that point forward he became dedicated to combatting the issue, serving as a federal task force officer investigating and prosecuting cases locally and federally.
He was instrumental in receiving funding to start a human trafficking task force in northern Virginia. Bill was placed in charge of the task force and was assigned to coordinate enforcement and interdiction efforts with other regional, state and federal law enforcement. He was also tasked with forging partnerships with non-governmental agencies that could provide necessary services to those victimized by human trafficking. In the first two years, under Bill’s leadership, the task force was able to identify 217 victims of sex and labor trafficking and recover over 126 of them. The task force also identified and initiated investigations into more than 100 traffickers that had conducted illegal activities in the northern Virginia area.
Bill saw, through his work, that many of the young victims were being tricked by the traffickers because they were not equipped nor educated to identify what was happening. Bill founded the Just Ask Prevention Project to help in better protecting our communities. He led the effort to develop a systematic approach of education, prevention and intervention which brings effective strategies in addressing the threat of human trafficking to communities. The program has garnered national attention and is now being implemented in areas throughout the United States, Mexico, Netherlands, and Nigeria.
After over 15 years of law enforcement service, Mr. Woolf took on the prevention and intervention work full time as the Executive Director of the Just Ask Prevention Project and Director of the National Human Trafficking Intelligence Center. He led a team focused on developing tangible tools and resources and leveraging new technologies to assist professionals in the field better identify situations of human trafficking or exploitation and respond appropriately to those situations.
Mr. Woolf was called upon by the U.S. Department of Justice to accept a position as a member of the Senior Executive Service in the role of Human Trafficking Programs Director where he was responsible for overseeing the nearly $100 million budget to support human trafficking programs all across the United States. He was also responsible for developing departmental policy relating to human trafficking and was eventually asked to serve as Special Advisor to the White House. Because of his demonstrated management abilities, he was asked to step in as the Acting Director of the Office for Victims of Crime and continued to serve as the Principal Deputy Director overseeing more $6.5 billion in grant programs.
He also seeks to influence the next generation by serving as an adjunct professor at George Mason University as well as Mount Aloysius College. Of all his accomplishments he is most proud of his six incredible children who continue to amaze and surprise him on a daily basis.