27.6 million people are victims of human trafficking each day. Over half of those individuals fall prey to human trafficking – either through sex trafficking or forced labor. There is no region of the world or group of people that is spared from this crime, and the efforts to stem this grave tide face increasing difficulties as the perpetrators develop more sophisticated methods. There is no single entity or solution that can curtail these offenses.
The complex and multi-faceted nature of human trafficking necessitates wide-ranging resources and collaboration. According to the 2023 Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report, government approaches require, “incorporating the expertise of anti-trafficking stakeholders from a variety of organizations. Whether by partnering with individuals who were victims of human trafficking or coordinating with the private sector to understand and dismantle trafficking operations...” It’s an all-hands mission demanding worldwide participation.
In 2001, international cooperation took a major step forward. With the support of the State of New Mexico and the City of Roswell, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs established an International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Roswell. There are six International Law Enforcement Academies throughout the world with other locations in El Salvador, Ghana, Botswana, Hungary, and Thailand; each academy enhances the United States’ ability to influence positive action in other nations.
The ILEA program is an essential part of the United States’ efforts to counter transnational organized crime and ILEA Roswell facilitates this collaboration by inviting senior-level law enforcement executives to come together from around the world. Multinational law enforcement professionals meet at ILEA Roswell for Executive Policy and Development Symposiums to discuss prevailing issues, learn best practices, shape policy, and create formulated plans on how to confront criminal activity.
In August 2023, delegations from Kenya, Botswana, Nigeria, Liberia, Tanzania, South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand traveled to ILEA Roswell for the Executive Policy and Development Symposium on Transnational Organized Crime focused on Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation. Conducted by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC), Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) this session’s goal was to facilitate discussion resulting in the Delegates’ ability to develop a comprehensive response addressing the problems of human trafficking and child exploitation.
The assortment of interagency experience provided comprehensive training on multiple issues concerning human trafficking including techniques, tools, and strategies that need to be employed to successfully investigate and prosecute human trafficking and child exploitation cases. Participants conducted research and gave both oral and written presentations that in turn stimulated ideas, facilitated discussion on key human trafficking issues, and contributed to participants gaining a better understanding on the scope of trafficking and exploitation. Relationships between nations grew as this group met the enormity of the task laid before them, and the Delegates of this session declared they were, "United in diversity against human trafficking and child exploitation."
Executive Policy and Development Symposium on Transnational Organized Crime focused on Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation August 2023 (photo: ILEA Roswell)
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