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My Coast Guard
Commentary | March 19, 2024

DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking Year-in-Review

By DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking

In FY 2023, the Coast Guard screened 257 unaccompanied children for human trafficking after encountering them during migrant interdictions at sea. The children were then referred to interagency partners as part of our service’s efforts to address human trafficking in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

You can learn more about these and similar efforts in the DHS Countering Human Trafficking: Year-in-Review, just released by the DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT). The report is designed to help readers understand DHS’s multifaceted work, and to use the many available resources to support their own counter-trafficking work.

Employees of DHS and its components work every day to end sex trafficking and forced labor through a wide range of efforts, including:

  • Identification and screening for victims of human trafficking
  • Victim protection and assistance
  • Criminal investigations of human trafficking crimes 
  • Enforcement of laws related to the importation of goods produced with forced labor and
  • Training, outreach and engagement with law enforcement, government, industry, non-governmental organizations, and the public.

In 2023, approximately 13,000 Coast Guard personnel completed the DHS Blue Campaign Human Trafficking Awareness Training module to ensure they were prepared to identify potential indicators of human trafficking while conducting maritime operations.

Coast Guard Pacific Area went further during its third Forced Labor and Human Trafficking tabletop exercise. During this training, participants honed interagency response to the discovery of forced labor during inspection of a foreign fishing vessel outside of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. The exercise included representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of State, Department of Justice, and DHS, and DOJ. Lessons learned from this exercise were leveraged to create a curriculum for a first-of-its-kind multinational maritime labor seminar.

Every year, nearly 25 million men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including here in the United States. DHS is a global leader in this fight and works with partners at every level to prevent this heinous crime, identify and protect victims, and bring perpetrators to justice.

The DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) integrates the efforts of 16 Agencies and Offices within DHS that carry out our anti-trafficking mission. These efforts range from criminal investigations, victim assistance, and combating forced labor in exports destined for the United States to external outreach and public education, intelligence, and training.

All Coast Guard members are encouraged to read the report here.