CANCUN, Mexico — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Department of Justice's Office of Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT); and the Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) hosted a human trafficking training conference for federal and state prosecutors, investigators and immigration officials June 3 through 5 in Cancun.
More than 90 officials from the Attorney General of Mexico (PGR), state attorney general offices (PGJ), the Mexican Federal Police (CNS) and the National Immigration Institute (INM) participated. The participants explored how to identify potential human traffickers and victims of human trafficking and related crimes. One of the objectives of the conference was to increase collaboration between the United States and Mexico to combat human trafficking.
"Human trafficking feeds on the vulnerable migrants in search of the American dream," said HSI Attaché Timothy Tubbs, who addressed the participants. "It promotes insecurity and instability in our countries. This seminar furthers our bilateral collaboration in investigations in order to root out this heinous crime."
HSI is the lead U.S. government agency that investigates and dismantles human trafficking and works directly with Mexican counterparts on bilateral trafficking cases. OPDAT provides capacity building for federal and state prosecutors and immigration officials and helped launch Mexico's Amber Alert program, which has led to the rescue of 174 children since 2012. Both HSI and OPDAT work with their Mexican counterparts through funding provided by the Merida Initiative.
The State Department estimates that 40,000 new victims are trafficked into the commercial sex trade or forced-labor situations throughout the world every year. Many of these victims are lured from their homes with false promises of well-paying jobs, but instead, are forced or coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, farm or factory labor or other types of forced labor.
If you know or suspect someone is being forced to work against his will or involved with a trafficking organization, contact the HSI Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or via its Web page.
Through ICE's Office of International Affairs and the State Department, HSI has 67 attaché offices in 48 countries around the world. HSI special agents work closely with foreign law enforcement agencies, and through a robust network of specialized, vetted units known as Transnational Criminal Investigative Units. Additionally, HSI brings personnel from host countries to the United States to train at the Department of Homeland Security Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia.