Combating Human Trafficking on U.S. Public Transportation (Educational Video)

The US Department of Transportation and
the Federal Transit Administration are committed to detecting and deterring
human trafficking on public transit and other modes of transportation in 2018
Transportation Secretary Elaine L Chao established an advisory
committee to develop recommendations to combat human trafficking in addition to
the DOT’s efforts FTA has established a human trafficking awareness and
prevention initiative with the objective of combating human trafficking in
transit this educational video from FTA is intended to raise awareness and point
out the signs of potential human trafficking on public transportation
systems human trafficking is modern-day slavery it is one of the world’s fastest
growing crimes with millions of men women and children trafficked every year
in countries around the world including the United States. In fact according to
the anti human trafficking group Polaris human trafficking is a 150 billion
dollar global industry that robs 25 million people around the world of their
freedom. Human trafficking is a crime involving the exploitation of someone
for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of
force fraud or coercion where a person younger than 18 is induced to perform a
commercial sex act. It is a crime regardless of whether there is any force
fraud or coercion. Victims can be anyone from around the world or right next door,
women and men adults and children, citizens and non-citizens alike. Coercion
can be subtle or overt physical or psychological. Traffickers might use
violence threats manipulation or the promise of love and affection to lure
victims exploitation of children under 18 for commercial sex is human
trafficking regardless of whether any form of force fraud or coercion was used.
Trafficking remains largely hidden, victims rarely seek help because of
language barriers, fear of punishment from their traffickers, and fear of law
enforcement. Although human trafficking does not require travel almost every
type of human trafficking intersects with transportation systems. At
point trafficking victims are moved using all modes of transportation
including transit US DOT leads transportation leaders against human
trafficking. A multi-agency federal initiative focused on the prevention of
human trafficking through policy training and education. The initiative
builds awareness among transportation operators in the traveling public to
fight the spread of trafficking in the u.s. transit buses and light rail and
subway systems may be a mode of transportation used by traffickers
because of a low cost and limited interaction with officials. They allow
more anonymity in obtaining fare cards and less attention from frontline
transit workers. Although sex traffickers recruit victims wherever opportunities
present themselves, bus stops and train stations present especially good
locations. Traffickers are particularly interested in the runaway and homeless
youth in these venues which may serve as shelters of last resort. A 2017 Polaris
survey of trafficking survivors bears this out finding that 63% of
survey respondents use mass transit such as public buses subways and publicly
accessible transportation services including long-distance buses taxis and
rideshares public transportation also plays a role for victims attempting to
escape. A survivors survey found that 26% of respondents used public
transportation and at least one of their escape attempts buses are the most
frequently used method of escape because the relatively low cost and high levels
of safety. These survey results underscore the need for transit agencies
to be actively engaged in deterring human trafficking through awareness
programs for both employees and passengers. Some transit agencies are
taking steps to ensure their employees are trained to identify and report
potential trafficking situations training often includes raising
awareness of clues and suspicious behaviors that may indicate the
occurrence of human trafficking. This video is meant to supplement agency
specific training on human trafficking and reflects the renewed federal focus
to combat human trafficking under US DOT’s Transportation Leaders Against Human
Trafficking Initiative. The following are definitions of human trafficking and
trafficking victims what follows are some indicators of
human trafficking to look for on transit. Suspicious behaviors that can be
associated with human trafficking include some of the following. Transit
bus drivers may be helpful in spotting victims of human trafficking. Drivers
assigned to specific neighborhood routes with consistent interaction with daily
riders may be in a good position to spot victims of trafficking. Passengers
operators and other transit personnel should not attempt to confront a
suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to suspicions. It may be unsafe to
attempt to rescue a trafficking victim. You have no way of knowing how the
trafficker may react and retaliate against the victim and you. If you
believe you have identified a trafficking situation immediately alert
law enforcement by calling 91. If you identify a victim who has escaped a
trafficking situation here are organizations that can help with shelter
medical care legal assistance and other critical services. As a public transportation employee you
have the opportunity to help stay alert and report suspicious behaviors
recognizing indicators of human trafficking is the first step in
identifying victims and can help save lives