U.S. Will Train Caribbean Nations to Battle, Stop Human Trafficking
WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — With January recognized as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency says its Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will be conducting anti-human trafficking training to countries, including the Caribbean, throughout 2017 and beyond.
ICE said HSI has a record high 22 international and 32 domestic training events planned for 2017.
“Modern day slavery still exists,” said HSI Acting Section Chief, Carlos. Ortiz. “It is ‘hidden’ in plain sight.”
ICE said HSI is working with the US Department of State’s existing international law officer training programmes, known as International Law Enforcement Academies, “to take their human trafficking training module around the globe.
“Recognized as leaders on the topic, HSI personnel are the preferred source of instructors for the Department of State for these events.”
It said training is offered to foreign law enforcement officers, prosecutors and victim service providers in collaboration with HSI attaché offices.
ICE said training covers topics such as HSI efforts to combat human trafficking using a victim-centric strategy – including investigative techniques, bilateral investigations, indicators of human trafficking, victim identification and victim assistance with a focus on building the capacity to conduct human trafficking investigations with host country legal authorities.
“The women and men of HSI who know the victims of human trafficking understand there is no mystery to the crime,” ICE said. “It is a crime of greed and for profit. Victims are emotionally manipulated.”
ICE said the two prevalent categories of human trafficking in the US are sex and labour.
It said the people who bring individuals into the US do so by means of fraud and coercion, adding that they “force labour and prostitution upon their captors.”
Additionally, ICE noted that the victims are often conflicted and do not identify themselves as victims.
“They are making money to send to their families back home or pay off debts but can feel ashamed about the work they are doing,” it said. “They may be able to move about freely at times but they are still beholden to their captors through threats, debt or event emotional manipulation.
“In some countries, there is almost a level of acceptance of the practice,” ICE added. “There are many blurred lines between the perpetrators, the victims and profit.”
ICE said forced prostitution is a “devastating reality of human trafficking,” adding that very young girls are “not told the truth about their fate until it is too late.
“Once they are in the US, they are isolated without family, friends or resources.
“Many of them end up addicted to drugs, jailed, sick and just don’t make it,” Ortiz said. “People sometimes see prostitutes as willing participants, and that is not always the reality. A lot of these women have no option to get out.”
ICE said HSI takes a victim-centred approach to their training, stating that they prepare curriculum according to their audience.
If the law enforcement officers are from a source country, ICE said HSI focuses on how to prevent removal of potential victims from the country.
If they are from a destination country, HSI focuses on how to assist victims and introduces new laws to combat human trafficking, said ICE, stating that the US is a destination country.