Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Human Trafficking. Tackling Trafficking Together. March 2024


U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Tackling Trafficking Together



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March 2024

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What’s New With Blue

Blue Campaign Raises Awareness of Human Trafficking at Super Bowl LVIII

Together we can tackle human trafficking text with image of football player. Large events like last month’s Super Bowl are great opportunities to raise awareness of human trafficking. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Blue Campaign helped make Super Bowl LVIII a safer event by educating industry partners and the public on potential indicators of human trafficking and how to appropriately respond to it. As part of an overarching DHS effort, Blue Campaign circulated a variety of resources in the Las Vegas, NV, area to raise awareness of the crime among visitors, local residents, and those working in industries susceptible to human trafficking, like hospitality and transportation. In addition, Blue Campaign’s aviation element, Blue Lightning Initiative (BLI), partnered with Las Vegas’s Harry Reid International Airport to raise awareness and train staff to recognize and report human trafficking.

With other large events, such as NCAA March Madness, just around the corner, now is the time to learn how you can play a role in stopping human trafficking every day and during large events in your area.

Visit Blue Campaign’s “Tackle Human Trafficking” page for resources.

Blue Campaign Partners with Lyft

Secretary Mayorkas announces Lyft partnership at Super Bowl press conference. On February 7, Blue Campaign and Lyft, Inc. announced a first-of-its-kind partnership to help rideshare drivers in the U.S. and Canada detect and prevent human trafficking. Along with raising general awareness of the crime, the partnership will teach drivers to spot and report signs of possible trafficking situations by housing Blue Campaign resources in Lyft’s driver-only in-app Learning Center. As the first major activation of the partnership, Lyft, Inc. sent a notification to drivers in the Las Vegas area during Super Bowl LVIII to point them to tools that can help them recognize signs of the crime. Lyft joins more than 100 other Blue Campaign partners working to combat human trafficking across the transportation, lodging, and private sector industries.

Blue Campaign Observes Women’s History Month

Throughout the month of March, Blue Campaign will be recognizing Women’s History Month by sharing the perspectives of lived experience experts of human trafficking. Follow us (@DHSBlueCampaign on X, Facebook, and Instagram) to hear messages of empowerment.

CCHT Corner

CCHT Hosts Second Annual DHS Awards in Countering Human Trafficking

CCHT LogoOn Tuesday, January 30, personnel from across DHS, along with law enforcement and other agency partners, were honored for their achievements in countering human trafficking at an award ceremony hosted by DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas and DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) Director Cardell T. Morant.

The awards recognized major counter-human trafficking efforts and contributions by DHS personnel and partner organizations that further efforts of the Department to advance counter-trafficking operations, protect victims, and enhance prevention efforts. The following teams were recognized for achievements in five distinct categories:

  • DHS Secretary's Award for Excellence in Endeavor in Countering Human Trafficking: South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force: The South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force conducted one of the largest sex trafficking cases ever prosecuted in the Southern District of Florida, resulting in a 60-year prison sentence for the leader of the organization and a $14 million restitution award to the victims. Award recipients included special agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and FBI Miami, an Assistant U.S. Attorney from the Southern District of Florida, and an HSI Victim Assistance Program Specialist.
  • Innovation in Law Enforcement in Countering Human Trafficking: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Forced Labor Division’s Enforcement and Compliance Branch: The CBP Enforcement and Compliance team developed an efficient, innovative, and structured process built on best practices to assist companies in remediating forced labor conditions by providing a documented record that verifies, through third-party audits, that forced labor no longer exists at their facilities. Award recipients included trade analysts from the CBP Forced Labor Division and auditors from the CBP Office of Trade.
  • Excellence in Intelligence in Countering Human Trafficking: “Stash’s” Intelligence Team: HSI New England opened an investigation named “Stash’s Et al.” for alleged labor trafficking and other violations. HSI New England tasked the CCHT intelligence team with conducting financial analysis of business and personal bank accounts to support the investigation. CCHT criminal analysts worked with a Financial Crimes Unit criminal analyst (now assigned to HSI Kansas City) to identify illicit funds gained by the target through his forced labor activity. In March of 2023, HSI New England arrested and indicted the main target of the investigation on forced labor charges. Award recipients included criminal analysts from CCHT and HSI Kansas City.
  • Outstanding Engagement or Training in Countering Human Trafficking: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Office of Civil Rights, Office of External Affairs, the DHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and the DHS Office of Partnership and Engagement (OPE): This team collaborated on developing and implementing an outreach and engagement strategy for the emergency management and faith community to raise awareness of human trafficking. Award recipients included senior executives and communications advisors from the DHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, FEMA, and DHS OPE.
  • Outstanding Victim Protection in Countering Human Trafficking: Hampton Roads (VA) Human Trafficking Task Force: An HSI Norfolk-led Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force sex trafficking investigation into a high-ranking Blood gang member and nine-time convicted felon resulted in a guilty verdict in April of 2023. Central to this case was the cooperation of an exploited minor female, who faced extensive abuse. The Task Force coordinated closely with Virginia Beach Child Protective Services to create a safety plan and 24/7 protective detail for the victim, as well as assist with the identification of a suitable residential program to support her complex needs. Award recipients included special agents, an auditor, and a victim assistance program specialist from HSI’s Norfolk office, a CBP Air Interdiction Officer, task force officers from the Virginia Beach Police Department, and personnel from Virginia Beach Child Protective Services.

“I hope you take a moment to reflect on the meaning of what you do every day,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas in his opening remarks. “I hope that you draw strength and great pride from it. And in recognizing the people who have done such uniquely special work today, by honoring some, we recognize and honor all of you.”

“The achievements we celebrate today are not just milestones; they represent lives saved, futures restored, and justice served,” said CCHT Director Cardell T. Morant as he addressed the awardees. “Each one of you has played a crucial role in making a difference, and it’s through our collective determination that we continue to make strides in the fight against human trafficking.” 

Watch the full ceremony here.


From the Field

HSI Eastern Shore Supports Fourth Annual Anti-Human Trafficking Conference in Maryland

Special agents from HSI Baltimore’s Eastern Shore field office supported a local human trafficking awareness event on January 22 at Salisbury University’s Center for Healthy Communities.

The Center for Healthy Communities invited HSI Baltimore and other experts, activists, and local leaders to take part in the fourth annual Anti-Human Trafficking Conference at the Salisbury University campus in Salisbury, Maryland.

“HSI is always honored when the community asks us to partner with them for such a worthy and necessary cause,” said HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris. “Human trafficking is a plague in our community and on our society, and we are consistently working to combat it by prosecuting traffickers and ensuring that victims receive the assistance they require to help them heal.”

The event, which commemorated National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, explored aspects of the global human trafficking crisis through engaging discussions and informative presentations.

Guest speakers included Special Agent Kason Washington from HSI Baltimore’s Eastern Shore field office, Dr. Danielle Thomas, child sex trafficking regional navigator for the Life Crisis Center, and Debra Holbrook, founding board member and president elect of the Academy of Forensic Nursing and director of forensic nursing at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

State and local law enforcement officials, public school personnel, licensed mental and behavioral health professionals, and community members from across the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland also attended.

The event concluded with a “Red Sand” ceremony, where participants gathered outside Salisbury University’s Student Union building to spread red sand onto the sidewalk. The nationally recognized ritual spreads red sand into sidewalk cracks to represent vulnerabilities that can lead to human trafficking and exploitation, and to create opportunities to reflect and take action against these crimes.

BLI Corner

BLI Moderates Panel at CCHT Anti-Trafficking Symposium

BLI CCHT Symposium panel discussion.On January 25, BLI led a panel on human trafficking awareness in aviation at the 2024 CCHT Anti-Trafficking Symposium. Moderated by BLI, the panel featured aviation experts from San Antonio International Airport, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Freedom Aviation Network, and Delta Airlines. Panelists discussed how human trafficking intersects with aviation and the industry’s role in combating the crime.

Learn more about BLI, visit

BLI Featured on Apple’s Uplink Podcast

Blue Campaign Senior Manager Michael Camal was recently featured on an episode of Uplink, a podcast that explores pressing topics in the aviation industry. In “Combating Human Trafficking in Aviation,” Camal gave an overview of BLI and its history, shared insights on how human trafficking impacts the aviation industry, discussed indicators of the crime, and gave a rundown of BLI training programs. Camal also talked about DHS’s support of trafficking victims and how survivor leaders inform BLI’s training strategy. Listen to the full episode here.

For more information visit the Blue Campaign
To report suspected human trafficking: 1-866-347-2423
To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733)

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