Cheryl Bassett is the director of human trafficking training initiatives at the McCain Institute for International Leadership. In this position, she is responsible for assessing stakeholder training needs and conceptualizing, creating, organizing, implementing and managing accomplishment-oriented capacity building programs in an effort to combat human trafficking.
Bassett has more than 28 years of investigative experience with the federal government. She began her career in 1989 as an investigator with the U.S. Department of Labor in Massachusetts. In 1997, she became a special agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in Rhode Island, where she conducted federal investigations involving human smuggling, document fraud, and other immigration-related crimes. In 2003, the Department of Homeland Security was created, and Bassett was promoted to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) group supervisor in Boston where she managed a wide range of criminal investigations to include human trafficking, human smuggling, unlawful employment of undocumented workers, narcotics smuggling, money laundering, asset forfeiture, gangs and national security-related crimes. From November 2009 through June 2012, Bassett was assigned to the ICE Office of Congressional Relations in Washington and served as a legislative fellow to the U.S. Congress focusing on homeland security including border, maritime and global counterterrorism matters. In 2012, Bassett represented ICE, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) as a section chief at the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center in Washington, which is a U.S. government interagency intelligence and law enforcement fusion center that gathers, analyzes, and distributes information and intelligence on human smuggling, human trafficking and clandestine terrorist travel. In 2014, Bassett was promoted to the position of Attaché for ICE and was stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil. Bassett had oversight of and led all ICE operations and capacity building efforts in Brazil and Bolivia for three years. In 2017, Bassett returned to the United States and served as a domestic operations chief for ICE/HSI Headquarters in Washington. In this role, she was responsible for managing and coordinating all operational and administrative activities initiated in 56 ICE/HSI offices along the Southwest border. She oversaw those offices and their respective investigations to ensure that they align with current policies and procedures and served as an advocate for those offices in providing resources and funding. Later in 2017, Bassett became the assistant director of investigations for the U.S. Government Accountability Office in Washington and shortly thereafter, retired from the federal government.
Bassett has received awards from the director of ICE, the commissioner of the INS, as well as, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Washington and Boston for her successful investigative work on international human smuggling organizations and the dismantlement of a long-standing document fraud ring. Bassett earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts, where she was named as an Academic All-American softball shortstop, graduated Magna Cum Laude, and in 2017, was inducted into the university’s Criminal Justice Hall of Fame.