HOUSTON — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a new partnership with the city of Houston and the Houston Airport System. The organizations are teaming up for an outreach campaign aimed at fighting human trafficking through the "Blue Lightning Initiative Program," or BLI for short.
BLI is part of the DHS blue campaign led by the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. BLI trains airport workers on how to identify traffickers and trafficking victims who may be traveling through our airports. This partnership is huge because the Houston Airport System is the first airport system in the country to become a formal BLI partner.
During a press conference earlier this week, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that more than 58 million passengers traveled through our three airports last year, and it's their goal to make sure every traveler is safe. He also shared an alarming statistic --- that the average trafficking victim is just 12 years old.
While all modes of transportation can be used for trafficking, officials say this partnership is yet another tool to help fight this problem in the Houston area.
It's not just airline and airport employees that can do something. If you see something suspicious, or think you have information about a trafficking situation, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or send a text to 233733. Remember, you can remain anonymous.