The HERO Act or Human Exploitation Rescue Operative is a bill that amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a Child Exploitation Investigations Unit that operates through the Cyber Crimes Center. It will provide investigative assistance, training, and equipment to support domestic and international investigations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of cyber-related crimes.
Specifically, the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit will:
- coordinate all ICE child exploitation initiatives, including investigations into child exploitation, child pornography, child victim identification, traveling child sex offenders, and forced child labor, including trafficking of minors;
- focus on child exploitation prevention, investigative capacity building, enforcement operations, and training for law enforcement personnel;
- provide training and technical expertise to cooperating law enforcement agencies and personnel;
- provide psychological support and counseling services for ICE personnel engaged in child exploitation prevention initiatives;
- collaborate with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Association to Protect Children to recruit, train, equip, and hire wounded, veterans and transitioning service members through the Human Exploitation Rescue Operative (HERO) Child Rescue Corps program;
- collaborate with other governmental and nongovernmental entities for the sponsorship of, and participation in, outreach and training activities; and
- collect and maintain data on the total number of suspects identified by ICE, the number of arrests and cases opened for investigation by ICE, and the number of cases resulting in prosecution and report on such data.
This bill is important because it is enables wounded warriors and law enforcement to stop crimes victimizing children. This programs puts veterans to work as investigators, aiding law enforcement in combating child trafficking, by giving them forensic training and other skills. Each HERO Corps class undergoes an 11-week intensive training course, followed by a 10-month, unpaid law enforcement internship at a Homeland Security Investigations field office.The 2015 class is in training now and the program plans to put 200 HEROs into U.S. law enforcement by 2018.
We can't think of anyone better to help combat modern-day slavery, than our very own veterans.