Thursday, December 15, 2022

21st Century Slavery. January 11, 2023, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

 
#WearBlueDay Is Almost Here
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December 2022


What's New with Blue?

Save the Date: #WearBlueDay Is Next Month

Save the Date. January 11th is #WearBlueDay. Blue Campaign logo.

Save the Date: #WearBlueDay Is Next Month

January 11, 2023, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, also known as #WearBlueDay. On this day, Blue Campaign invites you to do your part in raising awareness of the crime � and it is as simple as wearing blue. Why blue? It is the international color of human trafficking awareness. Just find your favorite blue outfit or article of clothing, take a picture of yourself wearing it, and post it on your preferred social media platform using the hashtag #WearBlueDay. Leading up to #WearBlueDay, Blue Campaign will share resources on our website and social media channels on ways to learn more about the indicators of human trafficking and how to help spread the word in your communities.

For the U.S. Department of Homeland Security�s (DHS) Blue Campaign, combating human trafficking is a year-round effort. Follow Blue Campaign on social media (@DHSBlueCampaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) and check out our future newsletters for what�s coming up throughout the year.


DHS Updates

The DHS PROTECT Campus Symposium: Human Trafficking on College Campuses�

DHS Blue Campaign and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) invite you to join our Partnership for Response-Oriented Training and Education to Counter Trafficking on campus (PROTECT), a no-cost one-day symposium on human trafficking and college campuses in recognition of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Attendees will hear from a panel of human trafficking experts working in a variety of fields, all with one goal in common � to help combat this horrific crime and protect victims. The symposium will take place in-person on January 23, 2023. The student and faculty session will run from 1 - 4 p.m. CST at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. More info to come on the morning session for public safety and law enforcement.

DHS Blue Campaign: Human Trafficking Youth Forum�

Caretakers and adults who work with youth are invited to join�DHS Blue Campaign for a virtual forum on human trafficking and youth. Hear from Blue Campaign, Department of Justice (DOJ), DHS, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), National Human Trafficking Hotline-Polaris, and Love146 to learn how to talk to youth about online safety; gain knowledge of human trafficking trends and how they affect the youth population; and increase awareness of available resources for youth victims and individuals working with youth. The webinar will take place January 31, 2023, 10 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. EST.

DHS Blue Campaign: Recognizing and Responding to Human Trafficking

For National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, DHS Blue Campaign invites you to attend one of our webinars on recognizing and responding to potential cases of human trafficking. Members of the public are invited to attend this webinar where representatives from Blue Campaign will provide an overview of what human trafficking is, the indicators, how to report a suspected human trafficking situation, and available resources to raise awareness in your communities. The dates and times of the webinars are as follows:

  • Session 1: Tuesday, January 10th, 2023, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm ET
  • Session 2: Tuesday, January 17th, 2023, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm ET
  • Session 3: Tuesday, January 24th, 2023, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm ET (Offered in Spanish)

We encourage you to register via the following links:


BLI Corner

Airlines for America Partners with DHS and DOT

Airlines for America (A4A) recently announced that it will partner with DHS and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to combat human trafficking through the Blue Lightning Initiative (BLI), which trains airport personnel and tenants on how to recognize potential human trafficking indicators and report their suspicions to federal law enforcement. Through this partnership, A4A will collaborate with DHS and DOT to provide virtual training courses for all A4A staff members. Read the full press release here.

More than 200,000 aviation industry employees have gone through BLI training. To learn more, visit go.dhs.gov/Z3L.


CCHT Corner

CCHT marks two-year anniversary and FY 2022 contributions to DHS�s counter-trafficking mission

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In October, the Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) marked its two-year anniversary as the first unified, inter-component coordination center for countering human trafficking and the importation of goods produced with forced labor.

Throughout fiscal year (FY) 2022, the Center took significant steps to advance counter human trafficking law enforcement operations, protect victims, and enhance prevention efforts by aligning DHS�s capabilities and expertise. Some of those accomplishments in the areas of operational support, victim protection, training, and outreach include:

  • Supporting multiple, nationwide large-scale operations across the country with funding, subject matter expertise, coordinated intelligence, and interagency coordination
  • Establishing the Labor Trafficking Initiative to build the capacity of HSI special agents to initiate and develop robust, proactive labor trafficking investigations
  • Leading investigative and outreach initiatives in connection with the passage of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act
  • Coordinating with DOJ and field offices on the first high-profile investigations of importers in the United States who knowingly imported goods produced with forced labor.
  • Increasing counter human trafficking efforts through training, outreach, and the delivery of victim protections
  • Signing an MOU with Liberty Shared to receive information which will support HSI investigations of companies benefiting from forced labor abroad
  • Making improvements to the Continued Presence (CP) program, including a 10% increase from the number of CP applications processed in FY 2021
  • Securing a contract to create an online CP application process, and
  • Transmitting to Congressional leadership an Office of Management and Budget (OMB)-cleared legislative proposal on CP based on extensive listening sessions with law enforcement and victim service providers. The proposal highlights necessary statutory changes to CP that would provide clarification and reduce barriers, ensuring that CP is fully available, accessible, and utilized by law enforcement and civil attorneys to assist victims

This increased DHS level of focus is also reflected in the number of successful human trafficking investigations conducted in FY 2022 by HSI. While official year-end statistics are still pending, initial results indicate a significant increase in human trafficking arrests and convictions.

Look for more details on the CCHT�s progress in the FY 2022 DHS Countering Human Trafficking Year in Review, to be released in January 2023.


From the Field

Joint HSI-FBI Miami investigation results in 60-year sentence, over $14 million in restitution.

A joint HSI/FBI investigation into a South Florida sex trafficking ring yielded a 60-year prison sentence for the ringleader, and a judgment of over $14 million to be paid in restitution to his victims. The defendant was also ordered to forfeit over $3 million.

William D. Foster, 50, was sentenced in September 2022 for heading a sex trafficking organization that exploited dozens of women and girls for more than 20 years. At any given time, up to 15 women and girls lived with Foster and were forced to work at South Florida exotic dance clubs and engage in commercial sex. Foster falsely told the victims that he would invest their earnings so that they could retire in their 20s, then kept the money they earned from working six days a week.

Foster used psychological coercion and violence to keep his victims compliant. He required many of the victims to go on liquid diets, get unsafe weight loss surgeries, and take anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic medications without proper diagnoses. Foster also had sex with victims, some of whom were minors. He transported his victims to other states including New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Nevada, for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.

If a victim attempted to leave, Foster would threaten financial ruin and other harm. If a victim left, she left with nothing. Law enforcement officers recovered one of Foster�s victims from a Detroit hotel room after she called the National Human Trafficking Hotline, a reminder that outreach is an important part of DHS� counter-trafficking policy.

More detail on the investigation can be found here.







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