ICE and CBP Launch Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative
September 14, 2008

Washington - U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement today launched a new campaign to raise awareness against human trafficking. The campaign's theme is "Death is not the only way to lose your life." It brings together federal, state and local law enforcement agencies as partners in combating modern day slavery.

To announce the new effort, CBP and ICE are hosting a symposium in Washington that features keynote speakers Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; CBP Commissioner W. Ralph Basham and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers. The symposium presents anti-trafficking experts to highlight what different organizations are doing to combat this horrific crime and to further raise awareness of the crime.

"CBP's officers and agents serve not only to secure our nation's borders and protect the homeland, they also enforce laws against human smuggling and trafficking," said CBP Commissioner Basham. "In the land of the free, we do not tolerate human trafficking across our borders and CBP will continue to play a leading role with our law enforcement and community partners to end this criminal enterprise."

The campaign uses posters, public service announcements and brochures to raise awareness about human trafficking, focusing on the heinous nature of the crime. ( Breaking News Photography )

"No person should ever be forced to live in a world of fear, isolation and servitude, particularly in a country that prides itself on its freedoms," said ICE's Myers. "I want to be clear that ICE is committed to protecting those who cannot protect themselves."

According to Public Law 106-386-Oct. 28, 2000 Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, human trafficking occurs when commercial sex acts are induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or when the person induced to perform such an act is under 18 years of age; or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.
Human trafficking is not smuggling. However, those who are smuggled could become victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking victims have rights and resources available to them.

CBP officers and agents are the frontline to detect victims of human trafficking who cross international borders into the U.S. As part of the new awareness efforts, CBP officers are being trained to recognize potential instances of human trafficking and to take appropriate actions when encountering human trafficking victims. The training includes the provisions of Division A of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA) 2000 and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 and reauthorized in 2005. Additionally, they will learn how to provide information and referrals for help related to human trafficking.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement works with its law enforcement partners to dismantle the global criminal infrastructure engaged in human trafficking. ICE accomplishes this mission by making full use of authorities and expertise, stripping away assets and profit incentive, collaborating with U.S. and foreign partners to attack networks worldwide and working in partnership with nongovernmental organizations to identify, rescue and provide assistance to trafficking victims.

According to the Department of State, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked internationally every year, between 14,500 and 17,500 of them are trafficked into or within the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws. ... ative.html