The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Transportation (DOT) have released a new human trafficking training for aviation industry personnel through the Blue Lightning Initiative (BLI).
Developed by survivor advocates, law enforcement, and aviation experts, the interactive, online module outlines common indicators of human trafficking that aviation personnel may specifically encounter.
(Learn More. The signs are everywhere, sometimes, you just have to take a second look. Human trafficking is modern day slavery and it happens in our own communities. Your second look could be their second chance. Courtesy of U.S. Department of Homeland Security and YouTube)
The training also details how airline personnel can immediately report potential traffickers and suspected instances of trafficking to law enforcement in accordance with existing protocols.
BLI, one of the lines of effort within the DHS Blue Campaign, is a joint initiative led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and DOT.
The initiative is one of several DOT and DHS collaborative efforts to ensure that America’s transportation systems are not being exploited for human trafficking.
“This training will enhance awareness of human trafficking in the aviation sector, and we are pleased we can offer it to our BLI partners,” DHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Partnerships and Engagement John Barsa said.
“Through our 20 BLI partners, which include airlines, a flight attendants’ association, and a training institute, we are empowering this uniquely positioned industry to be the difference that saves lives, and encourage other members of this sector to join us.”
BLI is a voluntary initiative open to U.S. airlines, associations, and training institutes. DHS and DOT are currently reviewing the possibility of expanding BLI to include interested foreign carriers.
How Does the Blue Lightning Initiative Work?
Participating airlines instruct their employees using the BLI virtual training module and associated printed educational materials.
The training may be integrated into airlines’ initial or refresher training for flight attendants, pilots, customer service representatives, and other personnel.
The BLI training illustrates common indicators of trafficking that airline employees may encounter, and how to immediately report suspected trafficking to law enforcement.
The BLI’s real-time reporting mechanism gives law enforcement the ability to research and analyze information, and to coordinate an appropriate and effective response.
To alert authorities about suspected trafficking, as outlined in the BLI training, airline employees can follow their airline’s in-flight reporting protocol or call the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line at: 866-DHS-2-ICE
How can airlines participate?
For airlines wanting to learn more about using the BLI to inform their employees about human trafficking and their reporting options, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for more information.
Participation is open to any U.S. airline.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation are considering whether and how to expand the BLI training to foreign-flagged airlines.
What other actions can airlines take to help stop human trafficking?
Airlines can post Blue Campaign posters, indicator cards or basic human trafficking awareness materials inside aircrafts as well as airing the Blue Campaign infographic on pre-flight videos to educate passengers to recognize and report human trafficking.
What can passengers do?
We all have a responsibility to be vigilant.
Passengers can help by learning the basic indicators of human trafficking by taking DHS Blue Campaign’s general awareness training to recognize and report human trafficking.
(The Blue Campaign infographic resources will help you to answer the question, “What is Human Trafficking?” Please help us bring this crime out of the shadows by sharing these materials on social media. Courtesy of U.S. Department of Homeland Security and YouTube)