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Officials at Miami International Airport announce initiative against human trafficking

New initiative to combat human trafficking announced at Miami International Airport
New initiative to combat human trafficking announced at Miami International Airport

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Monday marks National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and officials from Miami-Dade County, along with federal officials, spoke at Miami International Airport on Monday to announce that the airport will be joining the Blue Lightning Initiative against human trafficking.

“If we truly want to effectively beat human trafficking, law enforcement cannot do it alone. We need partnerships -- partnerships like the one we’re forming today,” said Anthony Salisbury, of Homeland Security Investigations.

The initiative was designed to raise awareness against human trafficking by training and educating frontline airport workers.

“The biggest thing in human trafficking that you’re looking for is there’s always some sort of power or control being exerted over these poor victims,” Salisbury said. “So, you’re looking for a lack of freedom of movement. You’re looking for permission -- if someone asks permission to go to the bathroom.”

The online training will be mandatory for all new employees of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department and will also be available to all 1,400 current employees.

New employees will have 180 days from their start date to complete the training.

According to a news release, the Blue Lightning Initiative is a collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Miami International Airport is the first airport in Florida to join the initiative.

Last year, the county engaged in similar efforts ahead of the Super Bowl by training thousands of hospitality workers.

They hope this new initiative will lead to similar results.

“These people go out into the community -- they go to our restaurants, they’re at our hotels. We want to be sure that people in the community can identify and know what steps to take,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.

WATCH: Blue Lightning Initiative training preview:

Blue Lightning Initiative informational video
Blue Lightning Initiative informational video

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.