Operation Blue Lightning

Operation Blue Lightning

The DHS Customs and Border Protection’s “Blue Lightning” initiative provides a voluntary mechanism to identify potential human trafficking victims and to notify federal authorities for front line workers at U.S. commercial airlines that operate U.S.-bound international routes.

The Blue Campaign is the unified voice for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to combat human trafficking. Working in collaboration with law enforcement, government, non-governmental and private organizations, the Blue Campaign strives to protect the basic right of freedom and to bring those who exploit human lives to justice.

Stephanie Baldwin, Delta VP Ops, JFK Airport said ”Delta is proactively engaged in fighting human trafficking and ending modern-day slavery. Since 2011, when Delta was the first airline to sign the End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking (ECPAT) Code of Conduct, the global carrier has trained employees to spot indicators of human trafficking over 54,000 and supports anti-trafficking legislation across the U.S. Delta also gives customers the opportunity to donate miles through Polaris and the SkyWish program, which helps survivors seek a safe place, return to their homes, or receive critical or legal care.”

Flight Attendants can be the eyes in the skies that uncover this heinous crime that is hidden in plane site. Eyes in the Skies is a part of The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) is the world’s largest labor union organized by flight attendants for flight attendants. AFA represents nearly 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines. On June 1, 2015 AFA launched a major campaign to support the DOT/DHS/CBP Blue Lightning Initiative designed to stop modern day slavery.

“We like to talk about ‘boots on the ground’,” said (CBP) former Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar. “Flight Attendants and airline employees will be the ‘boots in the air’ fighting human trafficking.” Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery. It is defined as: the recruitment, harboring, transport, provision or obtaining of a person by force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery; or sex trafficking, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force fraud or coercion—or the person induced to perform such acts is under age 18.

It is estimated that at least 12.3 million adults and children are enslaved around the world and that 56 percent are women and girls. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that in 2005, 980,000 to 1,225,000 boys and girls were in forced labor situations as a result of trafficking. In 2000, Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, which launched a large-scale effort by the U.S. government to fight human trafficking.

If you see something, say something by calling (866)347-2423 from anywhere in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. From any country in the world, Call (802) 872-6199 (not toll-free). Report tips online at www.ice.gov/tips. Please identify your tip as a Blue Lightning Initiative (BLI) report.

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