By Cari Stein, Executive Producer
It may surprise many Americans that human trafficking happens right here in the United States. In fact, victims are not only from foreign countries they include Americans. Trafficking is estimated to be a 32-Billion dollar a year “industry” exploiting women, children, boys and men for sexual slavery as well as forced labor.
This week, To the Contrary visited Homeland Security headquarters to speak with Secretary Janet Napolitano about trafficking. In an interview with TTC host Bonnie Erbe, Secretary Napolitano outlined a DHS campaign to bring this hidden crime out of the shadows. The Blue Campaign aims to raise the level of awareness of the general public so regular citizens can recognize the signs of human trafficking and report it to authorities. The campaign’s new website is https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/blue-campaign
Ironically, the interview was on the same day the State Department downgraded China and Russia for their handling of human trafficking. They were put on the list of the worst offenders with North Korea and Sudan. Now China and Russia could face U.S. sanctions.
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of interviewing former CEO of Carlson Companies Marilyn Carlson Nelson, about her leadership as the first major travel company to take a stand against trafficking. Her work encouraged other travel related businesses such as Delta Airlines and Hilton Hotels industry to take action.
To the Contrary will air both interviews this summer. And we’ll continue to bring attention to this heinous crime with special programming over the coming months and years. Hopefully together we can make a difference.