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Combating Human Trafficking: A Look at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center's Efforts

Director Connie Patrick
Director, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and it is, for me, an opportunity to reflect on the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center’s (FLETC) leadership in providing training for combating human trafficking nationwide.

At the FLETC, we have developed and delivered video, web-based and in-person human trafficking trainings to provide federal, state, and local law enforcement the tools and strategies they need to identify human trafficking victims and prosecute offenders. The FLETC developed and delivered a web-based training specifically for state and local law enforcement to educate them on how to differentiate human trafficking (compelling another to commit acts of commercial sex or forced labor), from human smuggling (voluntarily agreeing to illegally cross the US border), how to recognize the signs of human trafficking during routine duties, and the immigration relief available to trafficking victims.

Recently, the FLETC partnered with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI, the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit of the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Department of Labor to deliver training to specialized task forces called Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams. The FLETC expects to complete training for all six teams by the end of the fiscal year.

Next month, the FLETC will launch a two-part series of training videos to be played during roll-call briefings for law enforcement. The training videos focus on DHS’ immigration relief to trafficking victims, which aids in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers; for example, DHS may allow undocumented victims to remain in the United States to assist law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of crimes.

Successfully combating human trafficking requires coordinated effort from law enforcement, individuals and our public and private sector partners. To that end, the FLETC has also partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, ICE and others to reach beyond the law enforcement audience to provide training to victims’ service providers, emergency medical personnel, and other community groups. Other government agencies and partners—including Department of Transportation, Amtrak and air carriers—have also adapted the FLETC’s materials to train their employees on identifying indicators of human trafficking.

We continue work with other DHS component agencies and partners to develop and enhance training, because everyone has a role to play in combating human trafficking. The DHS Blue Campaign provides a unified voice for these DHS components to fight human trafficking. This innovative approach will continue to provide the Department with effective training products for years to come. For more information about the Blue Campaign, please visit:  www.dhs.gov/humantrafficking

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