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Published On: Mon, Jun 17th, 2019

Homeland Security partners with airline pilot union to combat human trafficking

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Blue Campaign announced a new partnership with the world’s largest airline pilot union, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), along with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to fight human trafficking through the Blue Lightning Initiative (BLI). Through an interactive training module, ALPA pilots can access the resources needed to help protect the basic right of freedom and bring those who exploit human lives to justice.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is proud to partner with those who stand up against human trafficking and exploitation, which has no place in society,” said Acting Commissioner John P. Sanders. “Through the Blue Lightning Initiative, we are equipping a critical group of airline professionals who are in a unique position to identify and report signs of potential exploitation and trafficking to law enforcement authorities. Through partnerships like BLI, we can help stop human exploitation.”

“Public awareness is key to identifying and reporting human trafficking,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “Each tip may make the difference in saving someone’s life.”

“As flightcrew members responsible for the operation of tens of thousands of flights across North America, airline pilots, working with our partner crewmembers, are uniquely positioned to help combat the vile act of human trafficking,” said Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA president. “Through our partnership with the Blue Lightning Initiative, ALPA pilots now have access to education and training that helps identify potential human trafficking victims and alert the authorities.”

The Blue Lightning Initiative trains aviation industry personnel to identify potential traffickers and human trafficking victims and to report their suspicions to federal law enforcement. To date, more than 100,000 aviation industry personnel have been trained through the BLI, and actionable tips continue to be reported to law enforcement. BLI is led by DOT and U.S. CBP and is an element of the DHS Blue Campaign.

Photo By Bill Koplitz/FEMA

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