New HERO Corps Mobilizes Injured and Sick Veterans to Fight Against Sex Trafficking

Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security swore in 22 U.S. veterans into the aptly named Human Exploitation Rescue Operative (HERO) Corps. The Hero Corps was developed in 2013 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT), and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) as a place for wounded or ill veterans to continue their service to the United States.

Specifically, the Hero Corps will lead the charge in the fight against child predators and human trafficking, a noble cause for the wounded warriors.

ICE usually heads up identifying victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking as well as tracking down the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. The Hero Corps, made up of 22 veterans that served during Iraq and Afghanistan as a part of nearly every branch of the U.S. military, have just completed the first phase of an intensive training program that will allow them to assist ICE in their efforts.

Over the course of one year, HERO Corps volunteers receive 8 weeks of training on tools and techniques for catching predators and traffickers, then spends 10 months training alongside Homeland Security special agents in the field. However, the training program includes more than just tools and assistance on how to identify victims and predators.

HERO Corps members also attend a three week training program developed by PROTECT, which specifically deals with coping with stress from working in child sexual exploitation prevention.

According to Homeland Security, in 2014 alone over 2,300 predators were arrested on charges related to the sexual exploitation alongside another 30,000 related cases since 2003.

In Secretary Johnson’s speech, he commented on the honor and distinction with which the men in HERO Corps had previously served their country. Considering these numbers, the HERO Corps will have ample opportunity to continue serving in the noble fight to end the sexual abuse of children in the U.S. and the world.