DHS Announces Launch of Blue Lightning Initiative at Anti-Human Trafficking Event
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced a new project to combat human trafficking, the Blue Lightning Initiative, at a DHS Blue Campaign Stakeholder meeting in Washington, D.C.
The project focuses on providing U.S. commercial airlines that operate U.S.-bound international routes and their employees with training on how to identify potential human trafficking victims and the tools to quickly notify federal authorities, DHS said. Airline personnel will be given computer-based training and printed materials on human trafficking indicators. The training will also cover safe and anonymous methods to alert federal law enforcement.
“Because airline personnel are uniquely positioned to observe possible human trafficking, making them aware of what potential trafficking looks like is an important first step,” CBP said in a news release.
Possible indicators of human trafficking can include: physical control of travel documents of an adult traveler by a co-traveler; restricting the movement and social interaction of an adult traveler by a co-traveler; or an adult traveler who is unclear on his final destination or point of contact, CBP said.
“We come from a tough breed that has to deal with tough situations, but none tougher than human trafficking,” said CBP Acting Commissioner David Aguilar. “It’s a challenge. It’s difficult to fight, but combating it is absolutely essential.”
Blue Lightning is a voluntary program for airlines. Other agencies collaborating on the Blue Campaign initiative include the departments of State, Justice, Labor, Health and Human Services and Transportation.