The mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values. Our mission is vast, encompassing not just safeguarding against terrorism, but also from crimes like human trafficking, which are an affront to human dignity.
Throughout the course of this Administration, DHS employees have worked each day to combat this heinous crime, including, but not limited to, the following efforts:
In 2010, DHS created the Blue Campaign to serve as the unified voice for our efforts to fight trafficking. Over the past six years, the Blue Campaign has:
- In 2010, DHS created the Blue Campaign to serve as the unified voice for our efforts to fight trafficking. Over the past six years, the Blue Campaign has:
- Become a national leader in anti-human trafficking training for law enforcement, federal employees, human trafficking task forces, private sector industry, international audiences, and communities.
- Trained thousands of people across the nation, including law enforcement across the federal government with the support of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
- Formed over 30 partnerships with state and local governments like Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia, and Los Angeles; and private sector industry like Amtrak and Western Union.
- Created a nationwide public awareness campaign to raise public consciousness of human trafficking. Through public service announcements, digital media, and advertising at airports, gas stations, and truck stops, the Blue Campaign has empowered communities to recognize and report trafficking.
- In 2012, the DHS Blue Campaign and Customs and Border Protection, alongside the Department of Transportation, created the Blue Lightning Initiative, a program partnering with airlines to train airline personnel on how to recognize and report human trafficking.
- During this Administration, ICE Homeland Security Investigations has initiated more than 6,500 trafficking cases and identified more than 2,000 victims of trafficking.
- ICE Homeland Security Investigations participates in 91 human trafficking task forces throughout the United States.
Over the past Fiscal Year, DHS has worked to fight human trafficking in the following ways:
- “Continued Presence” is a temporary immigration designation provided to victims of human trafficking by ICE. This status allows victims of trafficking to remain in the U.S. during the investigation into the crime that has been committed against them. Until today, Continued Presence has been granted for one year, and renewed in one-year increments. Today, Secretary Johnson announced that ICE has updated its Continued Presence Directive. This important immigration designation for victims of human trafficking is now a two-year benefit, renewable in increments of up to two years. This extension enables victims of human trafficking the opportunity to obtain crucial benefits for stabilization while alleviating administrative burdens on victims, service providers, and the government.
- In FY 2016, DHS, through ICE HSI, initiated 1,025 human trafficking cases, resulting in 1,943 criminal arrests and 587 convictions, and identified 435 victims of trafficking.
- In January 2016, the Blue Campaign and FLETC announced that human trafficking awareness training is now officially part of basic training courses at FLETC. The courses, which train federal law enforcement officers from over 90 federal law enforcement agencies, equip graduates with the ability to better recognize signs of human trafficking that they might encounter in their routine law enforcement duties.
- The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 mandated human trafficking training for TSA and CBP employees. However, Secretary Johnson and Deputy Secretary Mayorkas tasked the Blue Campaign with implementing a human trafficking training program for not only these two DHS Components, but for all DHS operational Components, including all law enforcement and public-facing DHS personnel. It is imperative that all of our Department’s public-facing employees, and especially our law enforcement personnel, know what human trafficking is, how to recognize it, and how to respond appropriately.
- The DHS Blue Campaign entered into more formal partnerships during FY 2016 than in any other year since its creation. The Blue Campaign entered into eleven partnerships during FY 2016, including but not limited to: the City of Los Angeles, California Hotel and Lodging Association, San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, D.C. Mayor’s Office of Human Rights, North Dakota Public Health Association, City of Houston, and the Virginia Office of Attorney General.
- On February 24, 2016 the President signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, which allowed for the removal of the “consumptive demand exemption,” strengthening CBP’s ability to prevent products made with forced labor from entering the United States. To date, CBP has withheld the release of products from four different companies since passage of this law. In addition, CBP established a Forced Labor Task Force for proactively investigating the use of forced labor in the supply chain.
To learn more about the Department’s efforts to combat human trafficking, visit the Blue Campaign website at www.dhs.gov/bluecampaign.