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Friday, July 23rd, 2021

Bill to combat human trafficking advances House

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U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) announced Tuesday his bill to combat human trafficking passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support.

The DHS Blue Campaign Enhancement Act would bolster the existing efforts of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to combat human trafficking by creating an advisory board to inform and coordinate training among DHS components and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of DHS’s training programs for its personnel, industries and State and local law enforcement partners while expanding its online training presence.

Meijer introduced the bill with original co-sponsor U.S. Rep. J. Luis Correa (D-CA).

“This bill, which I am proud to have introduced with my colleague, the Chairman of the Homeland Security oversight subcommittee, Representative Correa, has one very specific goal: to combat human trafficking,” Meijer said. “According to the Department of State’s Trafficking In Persons Report, every year around the world, tens of thousands of men, women, and children are trafficked, including far too many right here in the United States.”

The DHS began its current Blue Campaign in 2010 to unify and coordinate the department’s effort to address human trafficking. The campaign allows the DHS workforce to inform its workforce and the industries it works with, such as the airlines, to identify the signs of human trafficking and report them to the proper authorities.

“Human traffickers use fraud and coercion to compel people into a situation of forced labor or sexual exploitation. False promises of well-paying jobs, romantic relationships, and violence are all methods used by human traffickers. Victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality, and from any socioeconomic background,” Meijer said. “To end this horrific practice, we must use a multipronged approach. A critical component to this strategy is ensuring that law enforcement personnel and employees in customer-facing industries are trained to identify a potential victim of human trafficking by recognizing key indicators and then taking appropriate action.”

The legislation is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, SEE: Solutions to End Exploitation, the Kent County Area Human Trafficking Coalition, and Life Support Counseling and Coaching.