January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and that means extra attention focused on a terrible crime that knows no borders. The prevalence of human trafficking networks and their ability to operate transnationally presents unique challenges to law enforcement officials all over the world. The Department of State works across many fronts to combat human trafficking, and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) is uniquely positioned to assist with law enforcement, helping our foreign partners battle human trafficking at the source. Through our International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEAs) located in four continents, INL delivers specialized courses to improve law enforcement officials’ ability to combat trafficking in persons (TIP).
In the San Salvador ILEA, with INL’s support for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently trained officials from Barbados, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and El Salvador, with a focus on stopping child exploitation. The International Organization on Migration (IOM) also hosted a similar specialized course at the ILEA for officers from Brazil, Peru, Panama, Ecuador, and El Salvador. In December at the ILEA in Botswana, IOM held a course for officers from around the region, including Comoros, Djibouti, Guinea, and Senegal. A member of one delegation, the Chief Justice of his country and the son of a president, found the program so useful that he is seeking additional anti-trafficking classes.
International Law Enforcement Academy Training for Officials From Gaborone Gaborone, Botswana. [State Department Photo]
In a joint training at the Academy in Bangkok, DHS and the IOM teamed up with the Australian Federal Police to deliver courses on human trafficking and child exploitation. Combined, these courses trained over 120 officers from across Southeast Asia in 2014 on TIP investigations and related issues. These global efforts reach local law enforcement officials on their home turf, equipping them to better recognize, prevent, and prosecute the crime of human trafficking whether it occurs at the local, national, or international level. INL will continue such efforts to strengthen law enforcement worldwide to battle a crime that frequently has no borders.
About the Author: John Koogler serves as a Program Director for the International Law Enforcement Academies in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
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