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January 4, 2022 1:00 PM, EST

USDOT Recognizes Louisiana’s Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative

Human trafficking imageGetty Images

Louisiana’s transportation department is among the groups recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation for its anti-human trafficking efforts.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development earned recognition for an outreach meant to target more than 5 million motorists. The state’s recognition is part of USDOT’s “Combating Human Trafficking in Transportation Impact Award.”



As part of the award, the department allocates resources for individuals and organizations committed to developing programs that tackle human trafficking across transportation sectors. Such initiatives include the adoption of new technologies, online tools for stakeholders and messaging campaigns.

USDOT also recognized the A21 Campaign for an initiative of 1,000 countertrafficking billboards in 46 cities, and the Busing on the Lookout campaign for its proposal to engage up to 72 transit agencies to increase human trafficking prevention training, partnerships, awareness and reporting.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg praised the agencies’ efforts and urged stakeholders to continue to address human trafficking challenges nationwide.

“Human trafficking takes place on every mode of transportation in America, and we must change that,” he said Dec. 22. “I ask all transportation professionals to join this effort, and it’s equally important for commuters and travelers to be empowered to recognize and report signs of human trafficking anywhere it happens in our transportation system.”

Human trafficking takes place on every mode of transportation in America, and we must change that.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg

The department’s announcement coincided with the Biden administration’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. The plan, a whole-of-government approach, aims to eradicate human trafficking via prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships. As part of the plan, the White House tasked USDOT with developing greater engagement, training and awareness for industry employees, as well as commuters.

According to the White House’s plan, “[the Department of Homeland Security] will display notices describing the indicators of human trafficking in federally controlled transportation areas, such as airport screening areas, land port crossings and train stations.”

Additionally, “[USDOT will] expand its awareness materials tailored to more modes of transportation and share them with public and private transportation stakeholders across the country.”

The department also will continue to ensure states ban commercial motor vehicle drivers with human trafficking convictions.

More guidance from the White House plan included: “DOT will expand Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking outreach efforts to private sector partners through leadership engagement, employee training, public awareness, and development of a multimodal training, expanded public awareness materials and an anti-trafficking toolkit.”

American Trucking Associations is part of the department’s Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative. The initiative aims to connect stakeholders with training and education, policy development, public campaigns and networking forums.

“The transportation industry is taking a united stand to stop the flow of human trafficking through America’s transportation system. Having a set of core themes interwoven throughout [Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking] partner initiatives helps to send a clear and consistent message to transportation employees and the traveling public,” according to DOT.

RoadSigns

In this special 2021 Roundabout episode, host Mike Freeze looks back at how trucking not only worked to recover from the effects of the pandemic, but also improve through the darkest of times. Hear a snippet above, and get the full program by going to RoadSigns.TTNews.com.

ATA leads an industrywide campaign dedicated to ending human trafficking. Since 2012, the trucking federation has worked with its membership and organizations in the industry to tackle human trafficking. Specifically, ATA encourages trucking companies and organizations to provide anti-human trafficking training, as well as implement and enforce companywide zero-tolerance policies.

“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and one of the greatest human rights violations of our time. Tens of thousands of people every year are illegally trafficked into and within the United States,” per ATA. “Many of these victims are minors, often young females, who are brutally forced to perform commercial acts of sex or labor against their will.”

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