Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman today announced a new partnership among the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Transportation (DOT) and Amtrak to combat human trafficking. Under this partnership, DHS and DOT will work with Amtrak to train over 8,000 frontline transportation employees and Amtrak Police Department officers to identify and recognize indicators of human trafficking, as well as how to report suspected cases of human trafficking.
In March of this year, President Obama directed his Administration to redouble efforts to eliminate human trafficking. In an address to the Clinton Global Initiative last week, the President reaffirmed America's commitment to leading the global movement against human trafficking, calling it one of the great human rights causes of our time, and announced a number of new initiatives. The U.S. Government's efforts augment the work of business, non-profits, educational institutions and foundations to combat trafficking. We welcome partnerships like the one we're announcing today, that can build a whole-of-nation approach to eliminating this scourge.
"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 Secretary Napolitano. "We're grateful to have the participation of Amtrak and the Department of Transportation in this important effort, which will help save lives, protect innocent victims, and prevent this form of modern day slavery."
In partnership with DHS and DOT, Amtrak will use training and awareness materials developed by DHS and DOT as part of the DHS Blue Campaign to educate its employees on potential indicators of human trafficking and how to identify potential victims. DHS also developed human trafficking awareness training for its own workforce, which is mandatory for all DHS employees who are likely to come in contact with victims of human trafficking. In 2010, DHS launched the Blue Campaign, unifying the DHS components to more effectively combat human trafficking through enhanced public awareness, training, victim assistance, and law enforcement investigations.
"We cannot let the American transportation system be an enabler in these criminal acts," said Secretary LaHood. "In addition to today's partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and Amtrak, we are working with all modes of transportation to help stop the flow of human trafficking. Raising awareness can save lives, and we all have a responsibility to keep an eye out for these activities."
This partnership is also part of DOT efforts to raise awareness about the issue and ensure that the U.S. transportation system is not being exploited for human trafficking. DOT is currently training its more than 55,000 employees to identify and report human trafficking, and is working with representatives from all modes of transportation to secure industry support in stopping this crime.
"Amtrak is supportive of the DHS and DOT initiative to improve human trafficking awareness in the transportation industry and is proud to be the first partner in a program that will expand across the transportation sector," said Mr. Boardman.
For more information, visit www.dhs.gov/humantrafficking.