Outgoing U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Deputy Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan, along with Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson and JetBlue Airways Senior Vice President for Government Affairs and Associate General Counsel Robert Land, today announced a new partnership to combat human trafficking.
Under the partnership, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Allegiant Air and North American Airlines will work together to train employees to identify indicators of human trafficking in flight and on the ground.
The training will involve a training program called the Blue Lightning Initiative, which was developed by USDOT and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The program is available to airlines as part of the DHS Blue Campaign to help them educate their employees on potential indicators of human trafficking and how to identify potential victims. The Blue Lightning Initiative provides U.S. commercial airlines and their employees a voluntary mechanism to identify suspected human trafficking victims and notify federal authorities.
USDOT joined the partnership in an effort to raise awareness about human trafficking and to ensure that the U.S. transportation system is not being exploited for human trafficking.
LaHood wrote on his Fast Lane blog today, “Human trafficking is a hidden crime. We might not think it’s happening around us, but it is–right now, in cities and small communities all across America…. Our new training initiative will help cast a bright light on this exploitative activity.”
“This is not the first time we have partnered with DHS on this issue,” LaHood added.
Prior to inviting airlines to join the partnership, DOT partnered with the Department of Homeland Security and Amtrak in October 2012 to help train Amtrak employees on what to do if they suspect human trafficking. Amtrak is developing a system to train all employees.
USDOT has trained all of its employees to identify and report human trafficking and is working with representatives from all modes of transportation to gain industry support to stop human trafficking.
Be sure to check out the video below, in which LaHood discusses USDOT’s involvement in the Blue Campaign.
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