FBI Birmingham
Public Affairs Officer Paul E. Daymond
(256) 885-3632
September 17, 2018

FBI and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Issue Joint Statement on Human Trafficking

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s Birmingham Division have issued a joint statement calling for greater public awareness and engagement on the crime of human trafficking. The statement comes in conclusion of the 13th annual BCRI-FBI joint conference held in Birmingham on September 16 and 17, 2018. It is attributable to FBI Birmingham Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr. and BCRI President & CEO Andrea Taylor.

Human trafficking is slavery. It involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain free or cheap labor or commercial sex. It happens everywhere across all socioeconomic backgrounds. The chances are high that most of us unknowingly come in contact at least one person directly impacted by either labor or sex trafficking on any given day. We ask that the public become familiar with the warning signs of human trafficking and report suspicious activity of any kind.

Keynote speaker Elizabeth Neumann, Assistant Secretary for Threat Prevention and Security Policy, Department of Homeland Security Office of Strategy, Policy and Plans urged conference attendees to respond with a call to action and a commitment to building a new sensitivity to addressing the societal consequences of human and labor trafficking in their networks.

Labor trafficking is a serious problem locally as well as across the nation. People are profiting from the de facto imprisonment of fellow human beings and are using every conceivable method to continue these practices unnoticed.

We need both our law enforcement partners and the entire community to work together with us in this alarming phase in the fight for human rights. If you see signs of anyone who may be abused or who seem to be unduly under the control of someone else, please report it to your local law enforcement office, the FBI, or DHS Homeland Security Investigations.

For more information on human trafficking, please visit http://www.dhs.gov/bluecampaign.

About the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute: An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and part of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, the BCRI is a cultural and educational research center that promotes a comprehensive understanding for the significance of civil rights developments in Birmingham that changed our world. Celebrating its 26th anniversary, BCRI reaches more than 150,000 individuals each year through teacher education (including curriculum development and teacher training), group tours, outreach programs (school and community), award-winning after-school and public programs, exhibitions, and extensive archival collections.

About the Federal Bureau of Investigation: The FBI is the primary federal agency responsible for investigating all allegations regarding criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes. These laws are designed to protect the civil rights of all persons, citizens and non-citizens alike, within U.S. territory. The laws include hate crimes; “color of law” violations (actions taken by a person acting under authority of local, state, or federal laws to willfully deprive someone of their rights secured under the Constitution); human trafficking (the illegal “business” of trafficking persons into forced labor and prostitution); and freedom of access to clinic entrances.