U.S. Officials Begin Push Against Human Trafficking
November 11, 2009
Protecting the estimated 17,500 victims of human trafficking who travel through the nation each year is the goal of a new public awareness campaign by US immigration officials.
Most victims are lured to the United States with promises of lucrative jobs but instead find themselves in the commercial sex trade or other forced labor. Advertisements in the "Hidden in Plain Sight" effort feature a toll-free number for reporting instances in which human trafficking is suspected.
Cities in the campaign are Atlanta; Boston; Dallas; Detroit; Los Angeles; Miami; Philadelphia; Newark, N.J.; New Orleans; New York; St. Paul, Minn.; San Antonio; San Francisco, and Tampa, Fla.
The campaign is the work of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.
"Because this heinous crime is extremely well-hidden, we need to help educate members of the public about human trafficking, and encourage them to keep alert for possible human trafficking victims," Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security John Morton said in a release.
The federal government offers victims who cooperate with law enforcement officials temporary status and the opportunity to apply for permanent US residency.
One advocate for US refugees noted that victims of trafficking are difficult to identify.
"Often the victims get mistaken for undocumented immigrants," said Jozefina Lantz, director of New Americans services at Lutheran Social Services in Worcester, Mass. "It's not the same because these people were abducted from their homes and forced into trafficking."
More information is about the campaign is available at the US ICE Web site: www.ice.gov/pi/nr/0911/091102washingtondc.htm.
11.09.2009; Russell Contreras
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.