In February of 2004, the Austin Police Department implemented the IPT (Immigrant Protection) Unit to help combat the crime of human trafficking since many of the victims of human trafficking are immigrants. The IPT was attached to the APD Robbery Unit and assisted with robberies involving immigrant victims as well as addressing cases of fraud and scam affecting the immigrant community.
In October 2004, the Austin Police Department applied for and received a federal grant to help combat human trafficking. The Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded the three year grant in December 2004. The grant was one of ten awarded nationwide that provided funding for ten task forces under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
In 2007, the unit's name and mission was changed to focus on their true and only purpose - to investigate and find victims of human trafficking - both immigrants and domestic U.S. citizens.