U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced a series of efforts to combat human trafficking in the transportation sector.
“The U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to working with our public and private partners to fight human trafficking on America’s transportation system,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
Among the initiatives announced by Secretary Chao is a renewed focus on the “Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking” pledge to train the transportation workforce and raise public awareness on the issue of human trafficking across all modes of transportation. Secretary Chao is challenging the transportation industry to commit to “100 Pledges in 100 Days.” The Department anticipates more than one million employees across all modes of transportation will be trained because of this initiative.
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, affecting millions of adults and children in the United States and worldwide, says DOT. Victims are of every age, race, gender, background, citizenship, and immigration status. Some are trafficked within their own communities on various forms of transportation, while others are transported to new locations.
Secretary Chao also established an annual $50,000 award to incentivize individuals and entities, including non-governmental organizations, transportation industry associations, research institutions, and state and local government organizations, to think creatively in developing innovative solutions to combat human trafficking in the transportation industry. The Department will review applications and determine the individual or entity that will most effectively utilize these funds to combat human trafficking.
Secretary Chao also announced $5.4 million in grant selections through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative. Twenty-four organizations across the country will each receive funding for projects to help prevent human trafficking and other crimes on public transportation. A list of the selected projects is available online.