LatinaLista — Human trafficking is the pipeline for today’s slave trade. Through movies, the public has learned that human trafficking is more than just sexual exploitation of women and young girls. It also involves the forced labor, with no or little pay, and always accompanied by abusive treatment of men, women and children in occupations ranging from domestic help to working in salons or factories.
The most troubling aspect of human trafficking is that it’s happening before people’s very eyes. Clearly, greater public awareness is needed of who the victims of human trafficking are, what they look like, where they work and who is usually enslaving them.
If more of the public was made aware of human trafficking then the perpetrators would have a harder time of operating in the shadows — at least that’s the hope for a new campaign launched by the Dept. of Homeland Security.
Dubbed the Blue Campaign, to evoke the association of the “thin blue line” of law enforcement and in keeping with the global anti-human trafficking smuggling symbols of the Blue Heart and the Blue Blindfold, has as its goal to involve the public in reporting cases of human trafficking in order to stop it from flourishing in the nation’s cities and neighborhoods.
In addition to a nationwide ad campaign with bilingual radio spots and billboards, the campaign also includes a web site where visitors can find out information about what to look for when suspecting someone may be a victim of human trafficking.
A special 24-hour phone number to report human trafficking is available at the site, along with, the opportunity to sign up for the Daily Human Trafficking and Smuggling Report.
What’s unique about the Blue Campaign is that it’s not just to educate the public.
The Blue Campaign also features new training initiatives for law enforcement and DHS personnel, enhanced victim assistance efforts, and the creation of new partnerships and interagency collaboration–including the deployment of additional victim assistance specialists and specialized training for law enforcement personnel.
Victims often find themselves in a foreign country and cannot speak the language. Traffickers often take away the victims’ travel and identity documents and tell victims that if they attempt to escape, the victims or their families back home will be harmed or that the victims’ families will assume the debt. We recognize that men, women and children that are encountered in brothels, sweat shops, massage parlors, agricultural fields and other labor markets may be forced or coerced into those situations and potentially are trafficking victims.