Law enforcement from Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and the surrounding area in New Mexico participated in a Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers' (FLETC) Human Trafficking Awareness Training (HTAT) in early August.
Approximately eighty members of the State, local, and tribal law enforcement community attended the training sessions, which FLETC instructors delivered in person. The HTAT program provides law enforcement with an in-depth understanding of the crime of human trafficking. It highlights many of the primary indicators they may encounter throughout their shifts.
“Recent Department of Justice statistics estimate that, from 2011 to 2019, there was a 79% increase in the number of defendants charged with human trafficking in U.S. district courts,” said FLETC Assistant Director Kai Munshi. “Victims in these cases were often first identified by a responding front-line law enforcement officer. Combatting the scourge of human trafficking requires that every law enforcement professional understand the warning signs of human trafficking.”
The training consists of case studies, videos, and student-centered activities to enhance the learning experience and help stress the importance of taking a victim-centered approach. Portions of this class also focused on human trafficking in Indian Country and the unique challenges law enforcement faces in those communities.
The trainings included a panel of federal, state, local, and tribal human trafficking subject matter experts, including representatives from the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Indian Affairs, the State of New Mexico, and local non-government organizations. This part of the instruction introduced law enforcement to New Mexico-based resources they can call on to assist with suspected human-trafficking situations.
FLETC began developing training on the signs and indicators of human trafficking in late 2009. In 2015, FLETC began incorporating human trafficking awareness into its basic training programs for all newly hired federal law enforcement officers and agents. In 2019, FLETC completed the development of its introductory HTAT program.
A component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FLETC provides career-long training to law enforcement professionals to help them fulfill their responsibilities safely and proficiently. FLETC also makes training available on a host of topics to state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement nationwide. Through strategic partnerships, FLETC prepares the federal law enforcement community to safeguard the American people, property, and institutions.
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