Fuertes and Class Present at Department of Homeland Security

Fuertes and Class Present at Department of Homeland Security
Human Trafficking students present at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign event

On April 30, New Century College Professor Al Fuertes and students from his NCLC 475 Human Trafficking and the International Community course presented at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign event, “Engaging Education Stakeholders to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking.” The semi-annual stakeholder event was held at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Washington DC. George Mason University was one of three universities invited to participate in the day-long event.

The George Mason team presented on the different ways the Mason community researches and raises awareness of human trafficking. The first presentation discussed the content and learning experiences of the course NCLC 475 Human Trafficking and the International Community. The second presentation focused on the Freedom Connection Against Human Trafficking, a student-initiated, student-led campus organization at Mason. The Freedom Connection was founded by NCC students, Dan O'Brien and Whitney Morcom, along with Isaiah Floyd from the Global Affairs program.

The event was co-hosted by the Department of Education and brought together federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, schools, and private industry partners to raise awareness of human trafficking in middle schools, high schools, and colleges, and to identify opportunities for collaboration in shared anti-human trafficking efforts.

DHS defines human trafficking as the exploitation of a person for sex or labor and notes that teens and pre-teens are a particularly vulnerable group to be targeted by traffickers. Unlike human smuggling, human trafficking can occur without victims ever leaving their hometowns, especially when they can be targeted through a variety of channels including after-school clubs and social media outlets.

The DHS Blue Campaign raises awareness of human trafficking and offers education and support to those who work in direct contact with victims of trafficking as well as the broader community, to help educate the public of the dangers and signals of trafficking.

The April 30 event was attended by a variety of federal government and non-governmental organizations as well as educators and representatives from the private sector. DHS highlighted the event in their Blue Campaign blog here: http://www.dhs.gov/blog/2015/04/30/engaging-education-stakeholders-raise-awareness-human-trafficking

Fuertes said, "Our team covered a wide range of concerns regarding trafficking. I think the students did an excellent job at the Blue Campaign at DHS. The students representing the Freedom Connection Against Human Trafficking at Mason did wonderfully - I think it inspired many who came and attended the event."