In recognition of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the U.S. Department of Transportation is taking action to raise awareness among travelers and transportation employees across America’s transportation systems.
“The horrors of human trafficking are far-reaching, but together, we have the power to detect and prevent them,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We’re empowering America’s transportation workforce and the traveling public—hundreds of millions strong—to be the eyes and ears of a collective effort to combat trafficking.”
Secretary Buttigieg announced the opening of the Department’s 2024 Combating Human Trafficking in Transportation Impact Award, which incentivizes individuals and organizations to think creatively in developing innovative solutions to combat human trafficking in the transportation industry and to share those innovations with the broader community. The Federal Register Notice describes the award which is open to both public and private sector stakeholders through March 11, 2024.
Secretary Buttigieg also announced the launch of a Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT) awareness campaign. DOT said the effort aims to educate and empower travelers and employees across all modes of transportation to recognize and report suspected instances of human trafficking.
A variety of materials are available for download and can be tailored for use by transportation entities across the country to help raise awareness.
Materials have been developed for use in:
- Airplanes and airports
- Buses and bus stations
- Trains and rail stations
- Rest areas and travel centers
- Other places where human trafficking may occur
Campaign materials include a QR code that links to mode-specific indicators and reporting methods. Suspected instances of human trafficking that involve immediate danger should be reported to 911; tips can be reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline by calling 1-888-373-7888 or texting 233733 (BeFree).
Additional Efforts to Fight Human Trafficking
Operating administrations across DOT are using social media to encourage aviation, motor carrier, rail, transit, and pipeline stakeholders to strengthen their counter-trafficking efforts.
Blue Light Initiative
The department’s counter-trafficking initiative is reaching hundreds of transportation stakeholders this month through an in-person event with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) highlighting the joint DOT/DHS Blue Lightning Initiative (BLI).
BLI 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 BLI 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.
Human Trafficking Prevention Webinar
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is hosting a Human Trafficking Prevention Month Webinar highlighting transit-specific resources developed as part of an FTA-funded grant to prevent crime and human trafficking at smaller transit agencies.
Human Trafficking Task Force
The Secretary of Transportation is a member of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, a cabinet-level entity chaired by the Secretary of State to coordinate Federal anti-human trafficking efforts.
Public Meetings on Human Trafficking
The DOT Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking (ACHT) held two public meetings in 2023 that highlighted promising strategies to counter human trafficking across transportation networks. The ACHT will deliver a report with recommendations and an assessment of best practices.
Combating Human Trafficking Training
Responding to stakeholder recommendations, the Department of Transportation has developed counter-trafficking awareness training that is tailored specifically for transportation employees and travelers.
DOT’s Combating Human Trafficking in the Transportation Sector Awareness Training for transportation personnel underscores the intersection of human trafficking and transportation, provides general and transport-specific indicators of human trafficking, and gives specific information on how to report suspected trafficking.
Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking
The department’s Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT) initiative comprises nearly 600 transportation and travel industry stakeholders working jointly to maximize their collective impact in combating human trafficking across all modes of transportation. Stakeholders can join the effort by signing the TLAHT pledge and accessing modal counter-trafficking resources online. TLAHT pledge signatories include airports and airlines, urban and rural transit agencies, trucking and bus companies, ports, railways, state departments of transportation, industry associations, states, cities, and non-governmental organizations.