The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) launched a new Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative. The initiative includes two Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) totaling $4 million to prevent human trafficking and other crimes.

"Under Secretary Chao’s leadership, the U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to tackling the terrible crime of human trafficking by raising awareness and engaging stakeholders across all modes of transportation, including the public transportation industry," said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. 

Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery affecting victims worldwide, including in the United States. Traffickers use all modes of transportation to conduct their activities and often use public transit due to its low cost, greater anonymity in buying fare cards and less direct interaction with government or transit officials.

FTA published two NOFOs, each with $2 million in competitive funding. 

The goal of the Innovations in Transit Public Safety NOFO is to develop projects that assist transit agencies with identifying and adopting specific measures to address public safety in transit systems, including crime prevention, human trafficking and operator assault. Eligible applicants for awards are limited to State and local governmental entities; providers of public transportation; non-profit organizations; or a consortium of entities, including a provider of public transportation that will share the costs, risks and rewards of early deployment and demonstration of innovation. 

The Crime Prevention and Public Safety Awareness NOFO has the goal of developing and disseminating materials supporting public safety awareness campaigns for transit systems, including crime prevention, human trafficking and operator assault.  Eligible applicants for awards are national non-profit organizations. Organizations must have crime prevention experience, the capacity to provide public transportation-related technical assistance, and the ability to deliver a national public awareness campaign. 

The FTA Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative builds upon the Department’s work with transportation stakeholders across all modes of transportation to prevent human trafficking.

The Department’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, announced in October 2018, consists of 15 stakeholders from trafficking advocacy organizations; law enforcement; and trucking, bus, rail, aviation, maritime, and port sectors, including industry and labor. The committee is tasked with submitting recommendations to Secretary Chao by July 3, 2019 that include:

  • Strategies for identifying and reporting instances of human trafficking.
  • Recommendations for administrative or legislative changes to use programs, properties, or other resources owned, operated, or funded by the Department to combat human trafficking.
  • Best practices for states and state and local transportation stakeholders based on multidisciplinary research and promising evidence-based models and programs, including sample training materials and strategies to identify victims.

In addition, the Department is working to prevent human trafficking through its Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative, which focuses on leadership engagement, raising public awareness, employee training and partnerships.