Mayor Garcetti signs agreement with Department of Homeland Security to step up L.A.’s fight against human trafficking
LAPD, LAFD, Airport and Port Police, and Departments of Building and Safety, and Housing and Community Investment are now partners in DHS Blue Campaign.
On September 29th 2016 Mayor Eric Garcetti strengthened L.A.’s fight against human trafficking by entering into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to join several City of Los Angeles departments with the DHS Blue Campaign.
L.A. is now the largest city in America to sign onto the national campaign, a DHS initiative to combat and raise awareness of human trafficking through the close collaboration of law enforcement, government, non-governmental, and private organizations. The campaign leverages those partnerships to educate the public on recognizing human trafficking and reporting suspected instances. It offers training to law enforcement and others to increase detection and investigation of human trafficking, protect victims, and bring suspected traffickers to justice.
“We will not tolerate anyone who would exploit another human being for profit in Los Angeles,” said Mayor Garcetti.
“We can all play a role in banishing human trafficking from our city, but it is too often hidden in plain sight. The victims are most often women and children in crisis — people who are suffering from severe trauma, and trapped in desperate situations where violence and coercion are used to force them into labor or prostitution. The Blue Campaign will help us better train our first responders to identify the signs of this barbaric practice, and engage everyday Angelenos in the fight against modern-day slavery.”
The announcement was made at City Hall, where the Mayor was joined by Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Councilmember Nury Martinez, and representatives of the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles World Airport Police, Los Angeles Port Police, Los Angeles Fire Department, and the Departments of Housing and Community Investment and Building and Safety. All of those City departments are covered under the memorandum of understanding signed today by Mayor Garcetti and Deputy Secretary Mayorkas.
“Human trafficking is a heinous crime that tragically occurs in this city and in cities and towns throughout the world,” said Deputy Secretary Mayorkas. “Thanks to the dedication of federal, local law enforcement and civic officials, and with the vision and support of Mayor Eric Garcetti, we have built a unique, inclusive partnership in Los Angeles that serves as a model for the Nation in the critical fight against this crime.”
The law enforcement training, public information posters and pamphlets, and other resources made available by the Blue Campaign will build on the City’s already-robust efforts to stop human trafficking.
The LAPD is an active partner in the Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, and the Department’s Human Trafficking Division trains EMTs, as well as hospital, hotel, and motel staff, to detect the crime — and is now working with the Commission on the Status of Women to extend that training to housing and building inspectors. All prevention and intervention workers contracted by the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development are now being trained to recognize the signs of trafficking. In 2014, Mayor Garcetti was on hand as the County launched the SB 1193 Anti-Human Trafficking Implementation Project. The state legislation requires specified businesses to post notices containing information related to slavery and human trafficking — including resources that provide services and support to victims.
“This agreement between the City of Los Angeles and the federal government is a huge step forward for the victims of sex trafficking,” said Councilmember Martinez. “Every night on the streets of Los Angeles, there are women and girls who are bought and sold. That is not OK. We must employ every tool at our disposal to arrest those who buy and sell our girls, and we must rescue the victims of this awful crime. I’m grateful for the partnership we’ve formed with the Department of Homeland Security.”
For more information about human trafficking in California, go here.