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June 9, 2023Washington, DC, United StatesEmployee Spotlight

ICE member finalist for recognition honoring outstanding public servants

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) team member was recently named as a finalist for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals®, which honors exceptional public servants. Michael E. Camal, Senior Engagement Manager for the Blue Campaign and Blue Lightning Initiative under the Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) is honored as a 2023 emerging leader.

“Mr. Camal’s award nomination solidifies the importance of public awareness efforts in our fight to combat human trafficking,” said CCHT Director Cardell T. Morant. “Thank you, Mike, for your significant outreach efforts and a special thank you to our dedicated personnel who work continuously to prevent, detect and protect victims of human trafficking.”

The premier award program for career federal employees, also known as the Sammies, is considered the “Oscars” of public service and highlights remarkable accomplishments that benefit the nation while seeking to build trust in government and inspire people to consider public service careers.

“Michael Camal has been an invaluable member of the Blue Campaign team since 2018,” said Blue Campaign Program Manager Brandi Bynum. “This nomination as a 2023 Emerging Leader is beyond deserved for the exceptional work Michael continues to do.”

As a Sammies finalist, Camal is also a candidate for the People’s Choice Award, an award based on the total number of public votes each finalist receives. To cast your daily vote, visit: People's Choice Award • Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals. Voting for the Top 6 closes June 19.

The Blue Lightning Initiative, led by Camal, provides critical training to help aviation personnel identify potential traffickers and victims and report their suspicions to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). As part of the broader Blue Campaign, Camal has expanded the aviation initiative by increasing the number of partners from 17 to 125 since 2018 and added airports, universities, aviation companies and associations, and foreign airlines to the program.

Camal has also initiated enhanced training for more than 350,000 aviation staff members to better recognize and report suspected human trafficking cases, and expanded and diversified the initiative’s survivor network to better assist victims. The program’s outreach includes awareness posters and electronic billboards in airport terminals across the country. These efforts help generate leads to HSI, which in fiscal year 2022, initiated 1,373 cases, conducted 3,655 arrests and assisted 765 victims.

Having started his federal career in 2016 as an intern with the U.S. Marshals Service, Camal has developed a deep understanding of the devastating nature of human trafficking cases and remains as dedicated as ever to bring awareness to these abhorrent crimes and save as many lives as possible.

“My work in direct service to this nation and our communities is more rewarding than anything I could ask for — this nomination is humbling and I am extremely honored to represent my agency and the department,” Camal said. “Working with survivors has inspired me to move forward in innovative ways that further enhance how we combat human trafficking.”

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Updated: 06/09/2023