BLUE CAMPAIGN (DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY)
The Blue Campaign is a national public awareness campaign designed to educate the public, law enforcement, and other industry partners to recognize the indicators of human trafficking, and how to appropriately respond to possible cases. Blue Campaign works closely with DHS Components to develop general awareness trainings, as well as specific educational resources to help reduce victimization within vulnerable populations.
The campaign describes human trafficking as follows:
Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.
Language barriers, fear of their traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement frequently keep victims from seeking help, making human trafficking a hidden crime.
Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. They look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.
Many myths and misconceptions exist. Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Not all indicators listed are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.
The safety of the public as well as the victim is paramount. Do not attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to any suspicions. It is up to law enforcement to investigate suspected cases of human trafficking.
The Blue Campaign: Indicators of Human Trafficking:
Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Here are some common indicators to help recognize human trafficking. You can also download or order the Blue Campaign indicator card, which is a small plastic card that lists common signs of trafficking and how to report the crime.
Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
Has a child stopped attending school?
Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?
Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.
For more information about the Blue Campaign, please visit:
Beyond the DHS efforts, there are multiple federal departments and agencies engaged in ending the scourge of human trafficking.
The President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF) brings together federal departments and agencies to ensure a whole-of-government approach that addresses all aspects of human trafficking—enforcement of criminal and labor law, victim identification and protection, education and public awareness, international trade and development, enhanced partnerships and research opportunities, and international engagement and diplomacy.
This following U.S. Department of State website gives a brief description of the various federal departments that are working to combat human trafficking and assist victims and includes links to those departments’ pages on this subject.
The U.S. Department of Justice describes human trafficking and offers links to learn more about the DOJ efforts on this page:
DOJ on ‘A Whole Government Approach: