Posted by Alice Hill, Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Homeland Security
Over the past four years, DHS has worked to stop human trafficking, combat violence against women, and raise awareness about protections available to vulnerable populations. Earlier this week, I met with our stakeholders from the law enforcement and first responder communities as well as faith-based groups and members of the judicial system to introduce DHS’ Council on Combating Violence Against Women, which will build on the progress made by the DHS Blue Campaign to combat human trafficking and apply those successes to addressing the security of women and children.
This past March, Secretary Napolitano announced the formation of DHS’ Council on Combatting Violence Against Women, also known as the Council, which is co-chaired by the Assistant Secretary for the Office for State and Local Law Enforcement and myself. The Council brings together experts from across DHS to identify and share best practices related to our policies and programs in order to improve our ability to combat violence against women.
Together with our stakeholders, we have made great strides to better protect vulnerable populations from violence and human trafficking. However, these accomplishments would not be possible without the Violence Against Women Act and the Trafficking Victim Protection Act, two important pieces of legislation that were reauthorized earlier this year. These laws also provide critical support to immigrant victims when stepping forward to report crimes – but there is still more work to be done.
The Council will leverage the accomplishments of the Blue Campaign and support these laws through enhanced public awareness, training, victim assistance, and law enforcement investigations. In June, the Blue Campaign unveiled new public awareness materials, including posters, a PSA entitled “Out of the Shadows,” and informational guides tailored for the general public and our stakeholders. By increasing awareness of human trafficking and training individuals to recognize the indicators of such heinous crimes, everyone can do their part to help law enforcement rescue victims.
I encourage you to take our Blue Campaign training, display our posters, watch our PSA and share our information guides with your family, friends and coworkers. For more information, visit the DHS Blue Campaign on Facebook and visit our website: www.dhs.gov/bluecampaign.