Security (S&B/CBRNE) Magazine

SUM 2016

Security & Border Protection and CST & CBRNE Source Book, published jointly, concentrate on WMD response, NGB training, counterterrorism, and border security

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Page 31 of 35 30 | S&BP and CST & CBRNE l Summer 2016 Hill Perspective: Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs S&BP: Can you distinguish the threats from the Northern and Southern borders? Sen. Peters: America's Northern and Southern borders are equally as important to our safety, but each presents unique challenges. Some of the busiest border crossings in North America are located in my home state of Michigan, including the Detroit-Windsor and Port Huron-Sarnia crossings. These entry points on our Northern border help facilitate the flow of goods and services that strengthen our nation's economy. America's border with Canada is over 5,500 miles long and has 120 border crossings ranging from major exchanges to small and rural crossings. It is estimated that approximately 300,000 people and $910 million in trade crosses our Northern border every day - the largest bilateral flow of goods and people in the world. Border security and customs personnel face the complex challenge of both facilitating commerce and reducing security threats, and it is vital that they are equipped with the resources and tools necessary to safely and efficiently screen incoming travelers and goods. That's why I helped introduce bipartisan legislation that requires DHS to complete a full assessment of security threats and challenges along our Northern border. The U.S. and Canada have not conducted a joint border and threat risk assessment since 2011, and we must continually evaluate and address any vulnerabilities. I am also working to secure important investments in our border infrastructure. I have urged DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to prioritize the expansion of a customs plaza for the Blue Water Bridge in Michigan - the third busiest crossing in the country. S&BP: Human trafficking is a problem that is less visible to the public, but it's a significant issue in border and coastal states. What is the extent of the problem? And what have you done to address it? Sen. Peters: Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world, and America's border and coastal states are particularly vulnerable to these crimes. For example, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center estimates there were over 1,600 cases of human trafficking in the first three months of 2016 alone, including 74 reported cases in Michigan - the sixth highest in the country. California and Texas - two other border states - saw the highest number of cases. Unfortunately, the signs of human trafficking are not always visible to the public. Whether a victim is being forced to work without pay, labor in dangerous conditions or perform sex for money, these crimes are happening in communities across the country. A majority of trafficking victims will seek medical care during their captivity, putting medical professionals in a unique position to help these victims. Trafficking victims often show signs of abuse like bruises and broken bones, are reluctant to answer questions and may be accompanied by their captor. Equipping medical professionals with the training to recognize the signs of human trafficking can help free victims and put them on the road to recovery. I teamed up with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to introduce the Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act, which was signed into law last year. Our bill establishes a pilot program to train health care professionals to recognize victims of trafficking when they seek medical treatment. The pilot program will award a grant to one accredited medical school with experience studying and treating trafficking victims, and they will be required to work with law enforcement, social services and other experts to develop best practices U.S. Senator Gary Peters meets with Commander Greg Matyas at USCG Air Station Traverse City in Michigan. (Office of U.S. Senator Gary Peters)

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