Sunday, July 20, 2008

CA: New Ads Reach Out to Trafficking Victims

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - 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 recently 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, sweatshop 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.

ICE officials say 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders every year. Traffickers often take away the victims' travel and identity documents, and threaten to hurt their families physically and financially if the victims try to escape.

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 give anonymous tips to ICE agents at (866) 347-2423.


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