Friday, July 18, 2008

Customs Officials Advertising to Help Human Trafficking Victims


*Note: Human trafficking does not equal human smuggling.

SAN DIEGO – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are trying to reach out to human smuggling victims through advertisements featured in major cities, including San Diego. Advertisements posted on billboards and transit shelters with the slogan, “Hidden in Plain Sight” were put on display in June around San Diego county.

The goal is to educate the public about the existence of human trafficking in the country and urge them to report such crimes, officials said. “These victims are domestic servants, sweat shop employees, sex workers and others lured here by the promise of prosperity, then forced to work without the ability to leave their situation,” Miguel Unzueta, special agent-in-charge in San Diego, said in a news release.

In addition to San Diego, advertisements have been posted in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, Baltimore and New York City. Displays are also planned for Houston Miami and Washington D.C. People can make anonymous tips to ICE agents at (866)347-2423.

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