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Engaging Education Stakeholders to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking

Maria Odom
Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman

Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Blue Campaign, the unified voice for the Department’s efforts to combat human trafficking, held its semi-annual stakeholder engagement alongside the Department of Education. The event brought together federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, schools, and private industry partners to raise awareness of human trafficking in middle schools, high schools, and colleges, and to identify opportunities for collaboration in our shared anti-human trafficking efforts.

During the morning session, representatives from President Lincoln’s Cottage and FAIR Girls participated in a constructive dialogue on human trafficking prevention efforts in middle schools and high schools.  During the afternoon session, representatives from the University of Oklahoma, Pennsylvania State University, and George Mason University participated in a panel discussion focused on how academic research is advancing the effort to combat modern-day slavery, and how college and university students are working to prevent human trafficking in unique ways.  

We were also joined by U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp who highlighted the importance of raising awareness and working together to combat this terrible crime. Sen. Heitkamp has been a vocal advocate and leader in Congress on working to combat human trafficking.

Over the past year, the Blue Campaign has increased its outreach to the education community – including middle schools, high schools, and colleges – because we know the important role that schools play in educating communities about this issue, while also recognizing that students themselves may be vulnerable to human trafficking. 

Today’s event highlighted the importance of continued partnerships between DHS and our community of stakeholders to enhance our individual and collective abilities to identify and support victims, investigate cases, and bring those who commit and enable the crime of human trafficking to justice. Our work is far from over.

For more information on human trafficking tools for school administrators and staff, visit http://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/share-resources.

I encourage you to visit www.dhs.gov/bluecampaign to learn more, get involved, and join us in the fight against human trafficking.

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