The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Thursday that thousands of transportation employees across the county will be trained to identify potential victims of human trafficking.
“Today, we pledge to do more to combat human trafficking by broadening our network of partners to help us identify and rescue victims and help bring the perpetrators to justice,” said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano at a news conference.
DHS and DOT will team up with Amtrak, the national train system, to ensure that more than 8,000 transportation employees and the Amtrak Police Department learn how to identify and recognize human trafficking as well as how to report suspected cases.
Last year US Immigration and Custom Enforcement was involved in human trafficking investigations that resulted in more than 900 arrests and 270 convictions, said Napolitano.
Last week President Barack Obama announced plans to redouble efforts to eliminate human trafficking in the US. At a September 25 speech at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, Obama spoke out strongly against human trafficking saying some of the girls who are often sold are the same age as his two daughters.
“It’s the migrant worker unable to pay off the debt of his trafficker. The man, lured here on the promise of a job, his documents then taken, and forced to work endless hours in a kitchen. The teenage girl, beaten, forced to walk the streets. This should not be happening in the United States of America,” said Obama.
According to the US State Department, 27 million men, women, and children are victims of human trafficking every year across the world.
“There is still much more work to do,” Napolitano said. “Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time.”