Human trafficking is subject of new ad campaign

hidden_lgPassers-by in St. Paul may notice a new ad campaign, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” an effort by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to draw the public’s attention to human trafficking in the United States.

There are 12 posters at bus shelters throughout St. Paul.

An estimated 800,000 people are forced into commercial sex trade or other forced-labor situations each year, according to ICE.

In May 2007, ICE and local law enforcement arrested 25 people in the Twin Cities for their roles in a prostitution ring. Of those arrested, 23 have been convicted.

Three of the operation’s ringleaders admitted they brought women from other states and countries to work as prostitutes.

Some victims may be lured by the false promise of prosperity but are instead forced to work as sex slaves, sweat-shop employees, domestic servants or fruit pickers, according to ICE.

“Because this heinous crime is extremely well-hidden, we need to help educate members of the public about human trafficking,” John Morton, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for ICE, said in a news release.

The campaign seeks to encourage community members to report human trafficking if they observe it.

Because victims are often unable to speak the language of the country where they are taken, and traffickers usually conceal victims’ travel and identity documents, victim identification is especially difficult, according to ICE.

Traffickers may also threaten to harm the victims and their families if they attempt to escape.

Posters, billboards and transit signs bearing the message are on display in several major cities, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami and San Antonio.
Alex Holmquist can be reached at 563-343-2967.

source: http://www.twincities.com/ci_13716781

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Published in: on November 5, 2009 at 9:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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