WASHINGTON – Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas released the following statement on National Human Trafficking Prevention Month:
“Human trafficking is an abhorrent crime that impacts an estimated 25 million people, here in the United States and abroad. Victims too often suffer in silence and perpetrators are too seldom brought to justice. National Human Trafficking Prevention Month is a time to reaffirm the Department’s commitment to seeing those victims, hearing their stories, and preventing the horrific acts of human trafficking before they occur. We will bring the full weight of the Department of Homeland Security – our resources and our dedicated personnel – to identify and protect victims and to investigate and arrest perpetrators.
“Across DHS, our tremendous professionals lead this work each day.
• The DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking leverages the resources of 16 DHS Agencies and Offices to combat both sex trafficking and forced labor.
• U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents investigate these crimes and help prosecute the perpetrators.
• The HSI Victim Assistance Program supports victims with critical emergency assistance and connects victims with non-governmental organizations that provide short- and long-term direct services.
• U.S. Customs and Border Protection investigates allegations of forced labor in U.S. supply chains and bars goods made with forced labor from entering the country.
• The Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers educates law enforcement about the indicators of trafficking and best practices for supporting victims and bringing perpetrators to justice.
• We raise awareness about these heinous crimes through our signature public awareness and education campaign, the DHS Blue Campaign, and our partnerships with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, businesses, airlines, schools, non-profits, legal organizations, and many others.
• Finally, and critically, DHS personnel are trained to recognize and report indicators of human trafficking in the course of their daily duties interacting with the public, including Transportation Security Administration officers, Federal Air Marshals, service members of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services benefits adjudicators, and more.
“Combating human trafficking is truly a whole of DHS effort.
“During this past year, HSI Special Agents made more than 2,360 human trafficking arrests, identified and assisted more than 728 trafficking victims, and issued the first-ever comprehensive Continued Presence Resource Guide. USCIS released the first-ever standalone T Visa Resource Guide for law enforcement and certifying agencies, and approved 559 T visas for victims of trafficking and 451 T visas for their qualifying family members. CBP detained and seized more than 1,550 shipments containing nearly $500 million in merchandise linked to forced labor abroad, a 900 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2020.
“Last year, I directed all DHS Agencies and Offices to incorporate a victim-centered approach into every policy, program, and activity that impacts our Department’s interactions with victims of crime. I also released a worksite enforcement strategy that focuses our enforcement efforts on unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers, including through force, fraud, or coercion. We can, must, and will do more.
“The scourge of human trafficking must be met with concerted action. This month and every month, our Department will strive to shine a light on these heinous acts, protect the dignity of survivors, and bring perpetrators of human trafficking to justice.”
To report suspected human trafficking to DHS law enforcement, contact 1-866-347-2423.
To seek help or learn more from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, contact 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).