Human trafficking is a crime involving the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel an individual into labor servitude or commercial sexual exploitation. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality.
More than 300 state, local, tribal, territorial, and international officers registered to attend the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) online Human Trafficking Awareness Training (HTAT) on Wednesday, June 23. While the training primarily focused on Minnesota law enforcement, the class included officers from various law enforcement agencies in 43 states, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico; congressional staff; and international officers from India, Brazil, and Canada.
At the start of this class, leadership from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) and introduced the Center as a resource to the students. CCHT, officially stood-up on Sept. 8, 2020, oversees the DHS mission to combat human trafficking and the importation of goods produced with forced labor.
The virtual HTAT program provides participants an in-depth understanding of current indicators law enforcement may observe in industries known for human trafficking. The training consists of case studies, videos, and student-centered learning activities to enhance the learning experience. The training is online, creating a safe and secure environment with built-in social distancing.
The online training was presented by FLETC instructors from both the Charleston and Glynco training delivery points. They worked with FLETC’s Office of State, Local, and Tribal, the eFLETC team, and the FLETC Cheltenham Training Management team to deliver the virtual training.
The training included a panel of federal, state, local, and tribal human trafficking subject matter experts, including Minnesota representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations Human Trafficking Task Force, state and local prosecutors, and non-governmental organizations (NGO). Also included in this panel is tribal representation from the tribal police community and a tribal NGO victim services representative, allowing them to speak to the unique challenges the tribes in Minnesota face in human trafficking. This part of the training introduced law enforcement to Minnesota-based resources they can depend on to assist with suspected human-trafficking cases.
"Human trafficking is all too pervasive in communities across the country, and I applaud FLETC and the Department of Homeland Security for prioritizing trainings aimed at identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents," said U.S. Representative Dean Phillips (MN-03). "In Washington, I will continue to advocate for legislation that will disrupt financial activities of human traffickers, prepare and educate professionals who interact with victims and survivors, and support individuals impacted by this horrific crime. This is the kind of teamwork that will help end human trafficking, support victims, and keep our communities, our state, and our nation safe."
In late 2009, at the request of DHS leadership, FLETC began developing training on the signs and indicators of human trafficking. In 2015, FLETC incorporated human-trafficking awareness training into its basic programs for all new federal law enforcement officers and agents. In 2019, FLETC completed the development of its introductory HTAT program.
Since 2019, FLETC has delivered the HTAT to state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement in New Mexico, South Dakota, Washington state, Nebraska, New Jersey, Missouri, California, Massachusetts, Georgia, Alaska, Arkansas, and now Minnesota.
FLETC provides career-long training to law enforcement professionals to help them fulfill their responsibilities safely and proficiently. This includes the distance-learning program eFLETC and the personnel on staff dedicated to supporting the eFLETC mission and FLETC training. Through strategic partnerships, FLETC prepares the federal law enforcement community to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.
Associate Director for Training Operations Richard Deasy provides opening remarks to law enforcement officers and agents attending FLETC’s virtual Human Trafficking Awareness Training on June 23, at FLETC Glynco.
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