At the request of U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (MA-5), the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) provided online Human Trafficking Awareness Training (HTAT) to more than 100 members of the law enforcement community on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020.
“Thank you for participating in this training this morning. It couldn’t be more important,” said Clark. “Human trafficking is a complex, often silent issue that is often compounded by issues around trauma and immigration status. And as many of you know well, it’s not always easy to spot. So I thank you for participating in this training today.”
This training focused on Massachusetts and the New England area and included panel members made up of federal, state, and local human trafficking subject matter experts, including representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Homeland Security Investigations, FBI Human Trafficking Task Force, state and local prosecutors, and non-governmental organizations. A major goal of this training was to introduce course participants to Massachusetts-based resources they can depend on to assist with suspected human-trafficking cases.
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.
The virtual HTAT program provides participants an in-depth understanding of current indicators that 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.
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 development of its introductory HTAT program.
Also attending the training were congressional staff members and state and local law enforcement officers throughout Massachusetts and more than 10 other states. FLETC Deputy Director William Fallon addressed the attendees, stressing the importance of the state and local impact of the training.
“When we developed this class, and I think one of the things that really separates this course from others, is that while we’re going to have the indicators as the first part of the training, in the second part of the class we have the panel set up,” said Fallon. “The way that we wanted to run this program was to give everybody the opportunity to hear from the experts in the area where we’re hosting the training. Typically what we like to do is partner up, so we like to have federal prosecutors and state and local prosecutors on the panel. We also like to have federal investigators, typically from Homeland Security Investigations, and state and local agency representation as well.”
Since 2019, FLETC has delivered the HTAT to state, local and tribal law enforcement in New Mexico,South Dakota, Washington state, Nebraska, New Jersey, Missouri, California, and Massachusetts, with Georgia scheduled for an online training opportunity later this year.
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