News / USA

US Launches Campaign to Fight Human Trafficking

US Launches Campaign to Fight Human Trafficking
US Launches Campaign to Fight Human Trafficking

Multimedia

Elizabeth Lee

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced an initiative called the "Blue Campaign" to fight human trafficking.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is part of DHS, is the largest investigator of human trafficking in the U.S. government. It logged a 31 percent increase last year in the number of human trafficking investigations. But the head of ICE says the U.S. needs help from the international community to stop these crimes.

A video by the Department of Homeland Security shows that anyone, at any age can be a victim of human trafficking - forced into labor or prostitution.

"It is a very serious crime, it is also a moral outrage. It's repulsive. It's slavery," said Alan Bershin with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is one U.S. agency involved in the "Blue Campaign".

He says agents working at airports, seaports and border crossings are often the first line of defense for victims.  He says to recognize the signs of human trafficking even before the victims themselves, border patrol agents are receiving specialized training.

"Often the victims of human trafficking are not aware when they cross our borders that they are about to be enslaved," noted Bershin.  "The underemployed, the poor are the victims."

Over the last few months the Federal Law Enforcement and Training Center has developed a computer program to train law enforcement officers across the U.S. in recognizing and responding to victims of human trafficking. 

"One of the things we found consistently in the academic literature and elsewhere was that the first responders, state and local law enforcement, did not recognize the signs of human trafficking," said Alice Hill, with the Department of Homeland Security.

Hill says when police raid a brothel, if they've had the right training, they will be able to tell when a woman is willingly committing a crime or has been forced into prostitution.

"What's new is that we can actually do something to help the victims, and rather than what happened before was they may end up being prosecuted and criminalized themselves, that now it's recognized that they're victims," said Deborah Sanders, an attorney with Catholic Charities.

The computer program is being translated into several languages and will soon be available internationally.

John Morton with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it's also important to stop these crimes before they happen.

"The key to long term success in this area is our outreach with foreign governments," said Morton.  "We don't want the girl to get on the plane in the first place."

The U.S. has started an ad campaign to educate the public.  It includes Information cards in 16 different languages that will be provided to law enforcement officers.  The U.S. is also partnering with Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador, airing TV and radio ads to keep people from being victimized.

Within the U.S., officials say they will investigate and prosecute more human traffickers.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Kurdish service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs