By Glynn Cosker
Editor, In Homeland Security
Aimed at combating worldwide human trafficking, the second annual Together Let’s Stop Traffick summit is in full swing in Charles Town, West Virginia.
Sponsored by the International Police Training Institute (IPTI) and American Military University (AMU), the summit features presentations and workshops led by influential subject matter experts in various law enforcement, government and academic arenas.
This week’s summit is the culmination of phase two of a four-part program to initialize the world’s first “International Resource and Coordination Center” to help bring an end to human trafficking.
There are several things happening right now in our society that is alarming and leading to hundreds of thousands of American children being victimized every day.” – Leif Coorlim, CNN Freedom Project — Presenter at Together Let’s Stop Traffick.
Scott Santoro, Training Adviser to the Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Homeland Security was one of the many keynote speakers during day one of the summit. Santoro heads up training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) for the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign—an initiative designed to educate federal, state and local law enforcement on the detection of human trafficking.
“We utilize a victim-centered approach,” said Santoro of the Blue Campaign, which helps bring suspected traffickers to justice.
Nancy Rivard gave an excellent presentation on the initiative she founded in 1996: Airline Ambassadors International (AAI). The group is dedicated, in part, to training airline flight and ticketing personnel to recognize the characteristics of possible human trafficking victims. Some of the common traits of trafficking victims illustrated by Rivard were children who were:
- Not in control of their travel documents
- Frightened, ashamed or nervous
- Under control of a companion
- Not sure of their destination
“Busy airports are natural distribution centers for human trafficking & modern slave trade,” stated Rivard who presented a video from former Dateline NBC presenter Chris Hansen to highlight her company’s plight:
Other speakers at the summit included Andrew Desmond, Dr. Mohamed Mattar, and Leif Coorlim. Desmond is an internationally recognized investigator of worldwide cases of human trafficking and was instrumental in the first successful prosecution of trafficking children out of his native United Kingdom and the first prosecution of a Nigerian Organized Criminal Network. Johns Hopkins University Professor Dr. Mattar has worked in more than 70 countries promoting each state’s compliance with international human rights standards. Coorlim is an award-winning journalist and the editorial director of CNN’s Freedom Project.
All around the world, human rights are violated and abused on a daily basis. If we do not act, who will? It is time for all of us to join forces in the global fight for human rights.” – Dr. Mohamed Mattar, Senior Research Professor of International Law: Johns Hopkins University — Presenter at Together Let’s Stop Traffick.
The summit continues through Nov. 20. Information on the summit is available at the organizer’s official website.