Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign Launch
Ambassador-at-Large, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
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AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Hi, I’m Lou CdeBaca, Ambassador-at-Large to combat trafficking in persons here at the U.S. Department of State. The Obama Administration is committed to a ‘whole of government’ approach to combat modern slavery through policy initiatives and action to ensure that we are using every tool and resource possible to combat this heinous crime. As part of our ‘whole of government’ approach, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is launching the Blue Campaign, an effort to raise awareness and fuel actions against modern slavery. We’re joined today by Alice Hill, Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Homeland Security, who is going to discuss with us some of the progressive efforts against trafficking over at DHS. Judge Hill, thank you for your important work on this critical human rights issue.
COUNSELOR HILL: Thank you, Ambassador CdeBaca. I’m thrilled to be here. We’re very excited about the Blue Campaign. This has been an initiative of our Secretary, Janet Napolitano. And it really is an effort to bring together all of the great work that DHS does in the area of fighting human trafficking.
AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Now, DHS is big.
COUNSELOR HILL: It sure is.
AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: A lot of people know it for its work in immigration. This is kind of the flip side of that, the going against exploitation of these people, isn’t it?
COUNSELOR HILL: I wouldn’t say that. I think it’s very integrated within our work. ICE, as you know, has both domestic capabilities in fighting human trafficking, and also international capabilities in terms of its training as well as sexual exploitation issues overseas. I view this as a whole of DHS effort, including USCIS, which handles visas and continued presence comes through ICE. We also have CBP—all those potential trafficking victims entering in our borders. We are looking for ways for us to prevent trafficking, following the ‘3 Ps’—prevent, protect, and prosecute. We are incorporating all of that in our DHS efforts, focusing also on the victim.
AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: One of the big success stories of the last year with DHS has been the number of victims who have gotten special visas for crime victims, whether it’s the U visa or T visa. In looking at some of the aspects of the Blue Campaign, a lot of it seems to be pushing that message out to that victim or someone that wants to help them that this is a place of refuge for them.
COUNSELOR HILL: Yes, we very much want to educate victims as well as the general public. We see our efforts to collaborate with the public, including Good Samaritans and state and local law enforcement, as a way to multiply our ability to deter and capture those who are involved, the perpetrators of human trafficking. We’ve really designed a whole array of products that will do that, we hope.
AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Let’s talk about that a little bit. First, we’ll do law enforcement and then kind of talk our way out to the victim or the general public. What is it, if I were a local police officer, what are the things that the Blue Campaign would have available for me?
COUNSELOR HILL: Well, we have a number of brochures that we make available to state and local law enforcement. I won’t go through each and every one of these, but just an array of products that can either be provided to the victims or used by the state and local law enforcement themselves. But, in addition to that, and probably one of the most significant things that we think that we can do is the education of state and local law enforcement through our Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. What we’ve done is create a computerized training module solely focused on the issue of human trafficking. It’s got vignettes—four different scenes filmed with professional actors—and the law enforcement officers can then go through the training and identify various signs of human trafficking.
AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: I see that you brought one of those with you. Can we take a look?
COUNSELOR HILL: Please, let’s do it.
AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: I think that it really shows how through using, not just the web, but also being able to get this type of portrayal out there, it should hopefully give law enforcement the tools that they need. It’s not just a law enforcement problem. This is something that people might see in their own backyard, or they might even be headed into it. When I was coming into the country last week through the Caribbean, I saw this at the port of entry, part of the Blue Campaign. Can you tell us a little bit about this?
COUNSELOR HILL: Sure. That’s a tear-off from an item that we have right here. We’ve placed this at ports of entry. It’s intended for both victims and the public. It gives information about modern slavery, as well as we have posters at our ports of entry and public service announcements regarding human trafficking. The purpose of this is to alert the public, as well as the victims, to the issue of human trafficking, and then to provide help to the victims by giving a telephone number that they can call.
AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: I need to probably give that telephone number to our viewers. If you’re looking at this, or you see something that might catch your eye, that might be modern slavery, the number for the Blue Campaign is 1-888-373-7888. You can report a situation of modern slavery and both state and federal law enforcement can get involved to help the victim. Our time is short and I apologize for a short conversation today, Judge Hill, hopefully we can have you back. Definitely I want to thank you for all that you’re doing and Secretary Napolitano for the commitment that she’s shown to this issue.
For more information about modern slavery and what you can do to help us fight it, please join the movement. Look at www.dhs.gov/humantrafficking or www.state.gov/j/tip. Thanks for joining us.