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Homeland Security program works to stop human trafficking

Local News
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The Department of Homeland Security is pushing an initiative to take on the scourge of human trafficking.

Thursday, News 8’s Mark Gruba spoke with Mick McKeown from the DHS about the program and how the public can help. We started by asking him: What exactly is human trafficking.

Mick McKeown: The most basic definition for “Human Trafficking” is the “use of force, fraud or corrosion to obtain commercial sex or forced labor.”

Mark Gruba: What are you at Homeland Security doing to address it? You have something called, the “Blue Campaign;” what is this?

Mick: The “Blue Campaign” is our effort to raise education, awareness and training, not only to the general public, but to state and local law enforcement and to private companies and organizations, looking to help eradicate this crime.

Mark: What can people do to help out with this campaign? How do we recognize human trafficking in the world around us? What do we do if do spot it?

Mick: Well, thanks for asking. I think one of the big things we can do is visit our website at dhs.gov/bluecampaign, to get the most robust indicators to look into the crime. A couple of indicators people should be on the look-out for are, first and foremost, do people have the ability to get to their identification? It seems like an innocuous one, but people who don’t have that identification — it doesn’t matter if you’re at the airport, grocery store or bank — if you’re going to someone else to get your ID, they’re literally giving their sense of self over to someone else. The other one that we really want people to kind of be focusing in on is, are they able to have a conversation? Are they looking for someone else to do the talking for them? That’s two major indicators on the human trafficking front.

Mark: Again if we spot it, something that seems like it may be the case, what do we do in that situation?

Mick: Sure. If you see an immediate emergency? Call your local police department at 911, but if it’s one of those situations where you’re not exactly sure. If you just want to let someone know? Then you call a tip line, and our tip line is 1-866-347-2423.

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