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Homeland Security Investigations fights human trafficking with help from other industries

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Homeland Security Investigations fights human trafficking

Homeland Security Investigations fights human trafficking.

HONOLULU (KITV4) -- Air travel is the main way for visitors to come to Hawaii. It's also the primary way victims of human trafficking arrive here, too. That's why Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) works with the airline industry to train employees on how to spot victims, and groups like flight attendants are on the front lines of this fight.

The Blue Campaign from Homeland Security Investigations teaches people how they can join the fight against human trafficking.

"We want to educate the public on the dangers of human trafficking, on some of the things they see that could be an indicator of somebody being trafficked," said John Tobon, Special Agent in Charge at HSI Honolulu.

One of the main industries it works with is air travel; in Hawaii, it trains workers at all the airlines and airports.

"The airline industry is key to this, especially here in Honolulu. But we also provide this training to financial institutions, transportation companies, and people in importing to make sure they don't get involved in forced labor," said Tobon.

Agents give out business-sized cards with tips, in addition to offering in-person training to flight attendants and ticket agents on what to look for.

"Passengers with a large age difference and the younger passenger is not looking at the flight attendant, not answering questions, not accepting food or drink. You're going to see somebody who is very withdrawn," Tobon explained.

To report suspected trafficking victims call the National Human Trafficking Hotline:

1 (888) 373-7888

SMS: 233733 (Text "HELP" or "INFO")

24 hours, 7 days a week

The Blue Campaign also asks people to not contribute to the problem. Tobon says people can be too complacent about what goes on at massage parlors. "Never pay for sex. Ensure nobody you know or cares about pays for sex. That is what pushes individuals and puts men, women, girls, and boys, into these dangerous situations," he emphasizes.

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery driven by demand, he says, and stopping it will take the help of the entire community.

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