The Port of Palm Beach has announced a new partnership with the nonprofit organization Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST) to train employees on human trafficking prevention in observance of Human Trafficking Awareness Month. This new training program will help employees learn the indicators of human trafficking at seaports and what they can do if they witness a potential human trafficking incident.
The training is called Ports to Freedom, and it is the first online, video-based training program specifically designed for the maritime industry. The Port of Palm Beach is the third seaport in the United States to begin using this new human trafficking prevention training.
“We are proud to be the first seaport in Florida to adopt the Ports to Freedom training. I believe it shows our commitment to safety and security. The more our employees learn how to identify and report a potential human trafficking situation, the better chance there is of saving a life,” said Port Executive Director Manuel Almira.
The Port of Palm Beach Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the training during its January 21 regular board meeting.
Seaports can be a key location for identifying people who are victims of human trafficking, so it’s essential that employees working at ports are properly trained in what to watch for. Ports to Freedom will help Port of Palm Beach employees learn how to recognize the behaviors that can indicate human trafficking and how to safely report it.
Victims of human trafficking can include women, men, and children who are subjected to sexual exploitation or forced labor through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. When labor trafficking victims are stuck on maritime vessels, they can be forced to work long hours, compelled to extend their contracts, be paid less than they agreed to work for, or their wages can be withheld entirely. Often, the only opportunity these victims have to seek help is when a ship is docked at port. Sex trafficking can also take place at port facilities or onboard ships when seafarers participate in commercial sexual exploitation, either while ships are at dock, or at sea.