Monday, July 26, 2010

US launches the 'Blue Campaign' to combat modern human slavery

On Friday July 23rd, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano launched the "Blue Campaign"- a new government wide effort to raise awareness of human trafficking and to increase security measures to prevent it from happening. The new campaign will include online training for border patrol agents, information packets to be distributed in foreign countries (in over 16 languages), and a new US partnership with Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador to air TV and radio ads to prevent people from being victimized.

The Blue Campaign is a reference to the "Blue Heart Campaign" against human trafficking put on by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the "Blue Blindfold" to raise awareness of trafficking in the UK.

One aspect of the US Blue Campaign will focus on training border patrol agents, who are typically the first line of defense against trafficking. However, many of these agents have not received the necessary training to be able to identify when trafficking is occurring. Consequently, the Federal Law enforcement and Training Center has developed a new computer training program to educate these agents. The computer program will teach agents things like identifying which women are willingly breaking prostitution laws from ones who are victims of trafficking.

-Matthew Thwaites
"US Launches Campaign to Fight Human Trafficking"-Voice of America, "Blue Campaign Launch: A U.S. Commitment To Combating Modern Slavery"-US State Department