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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Transportation Department Announces New Measures to Combat Human Trafficking

Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking and the American Association of Port Authorities will conduct the first national, multilingual counter-trafficking public awareness campaign to raise awareness among port authority employees and seafarers.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced several actions to raise awareness and prevent human trafficking, including new collaboration among transportation sector leaders and recognition of innovation at the state and local level.

“Transportation workers and the traveling public have a key role to play in the fight against human trafficking – which is why it’s so important for everyone to recognize the signs and be prepared to report it,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

To support these efforts, Secretary Buttigieg has appointed 15 members of the DOT Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, which includes a cross-section of stakeholders from both industry and labor, including representatives from the aviation, bus, law enforcement, maritime, port, rail, and trucking sectors. Committee members also include lived experience experts and representatives of trafficking advocacy organizations and law enforcement. The Committee will develop a report with recommendations for countering human trafficking, and an assessment of best practices by transportation stakeholders and human trafficking violations involving commercial motor vehicles.

Secretary Buttigieg also announced the winner and runners up of the Department’s 2023 Combating Human Trafficking in Transportation Impact Award, which incentivizes innovative and shareable solutions to combat human trafficking in the transportation industry.  

  • 1st Place: Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking and the American Association of Port Authorities for their “Awareness Campaign to Help Prevent Human Trafficking in the Maritime Industry” proposal. It will conduct the first national, multilingual counter-trafficking public awareness campaign to raise awareness among port authority employees and seafarers.
  • 2nd Place: Houston Airports for its “Together We Will #EndHumanTrafficking” proposal to build on its comprehensive approach to combating human trafficking.  Their counter-trafficking proposal includes expanding community awareness ahead of major travel periods and holidays, expanding employee training to comprise human trafficking survivor voices, and providing financial support to local advocacy groups.  
  • 3rd Place: Two Bowling Green State University faculty members for their “Higher Education on the Awareness Highway to End Human Trafficking” proposal to develop a counter-trafficking awareness toolkit. The proposed toolkit will serve as a resource guide for college and university faculty to create survivor-informed and evidence-based community impact projects for their students at transportation sites including transit, airports, trains, and highway rest areas.

In addition, Secretary Buttigieg announced the release of the Department’s new Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT) training for transportation employees and members of the traveling public, which highlights the intersection of human trafficking and transportation, provides general and transport-specific indicators of human trafficking, and emphasizes reporting methods. DOT’s 55,000 employees have received initial and recurrent training to recognize and report human trafficking since 2012. TLAHT comprises nearly 600 transportation and travel industry stakeholders. Transportation leaders can join the effort by signing a pledge on behalf of their organization and accessing modal counter-trafficking resources online.

Additional actions that the Department and its partners are taking to combat human trafficking include:

  • Leaders from the  Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration posted videos on social media  encouraging maritime and pipeline stakeholders to bolster their counter-trafficking efforts
  • DOT recently joined the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in delivering a joint training for Amtrak ticket office employees on recognizing and reporting suspected instances of human trafficking.
  • The joint DOT and DHS Blue Lightning Initiative trains aviation industry personnel to identify potential traffickers and human trafficking victims, and to report their suspicions to Federal law enforcement through in-flight and on the ground reporting methods. To date, over 130 aviation industry partners have trained more than 350,000 employees through the Blue Lightning Initiative, and actionable tips continue to be reported to law enforcement. Participation is open to any U.S. aviation industry organization and to international air carriers serving the U.S
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “Your Roads, Their Freedom” public awareness campaign educates the commercial motor vehicle industry on recognizing and reporting suspected instances of human trafficking. The campaign includes indicator cards for frontline workers and posters to be displayed in rest areas, travel centers, bus stations, and other places where human trafficking may occur.

To report a tip or ask for help, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline on 1-888-373-7888).

Read more at the Department of Transportation

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