Through an initiative dubbed the Blue Campaign, the Department of Homeland Security is launching a website, logo and mission statement, as well as distributing thousands of posters, tip sheets and public service announcements about trafficking. The efforts, part of a broad federal push to deal with trafficking, will help more victims be identified, federal officials say.
“It is such an insidious crime that is often not recognized enough,” Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told USA TODAY. “We want to bring it out of the shadows, go after the perpetrators, and we want to make sure the victims are taken care of.” Federal officials are committed to circumventing traditional government bureaucracy, enhancing data collection, funding trafficking initiatives and making the public more aware.
With its new mission statement, the Blue Campaign will aim for more collaboration with government officials, law enforcement, private organizations and other partners. As part of the efforts, the department has three general awareness posters and six public service announcements. Fliers include the department’s tip line, 866-347-2423. They instruct people to know potential trafficking signs such as a person who works long or unusual hours, someone who shows signs of mental or physical abuse or a child traveling with someone who does not seem to be their real parent or guardian. The sheets tell people to report tips and know the resources in their area.
Napolitano said the department plans to closely assess the success of the Blue Campaign by looking at the number of calls it gets into its tip line, the number of victims identified, the number of law enforcement officials trained and the number of investigations and prosecutions initiated after the campaign. Officials will measure how often the public service announcements are played and how much traffic the new website gets.
“So often at DHS, our role is to play defense,” Napolitano said. “We protect critical infrastructure. We help secure cyber-networks. We prevent illegal crossings at the border. On human trafficking, we can go on offense and use the tools and the capabilities of this department.”
Learn more at Blue Campaign by DHS aims to combat human trafficking.