October 15, 2021
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The North Dakota Department of Transportation is participating in a global research effort spearheaded by United Against Slavery or UAS to fight human trafficking via the 2021 National Outreach Survey for Transportation or NOST.

[Above image via UAS]

More than 100 contributors including 59 oversight agencies from Canada, Brazil, the Netherlands, and the United States plan to analyze “front-line” transportation data from the aviation, maritime, pipeline, railroad, roadway and public transit sectors in an effort to construct policies and solutions to disrupt human trafficking and ultimately make it difficult, unattractive, and unprofitable.

Bill Panos at podium. Photo by the North Dakota DOT.

“We will be working closely with United Against Slavery to provide them North Dakota-specific data that they’ll be able to use to assess trends, inform training programs and improve enforcement and preventative actions,” said Bill Panos, North Dakota DOT’s director, in a statement.

“We are grateful to be part of the solution and partner with United Against Slavery to end human trafficking,” he added.

UAS said the NOST project — officially launched on July 5 – seeks to collect transportation data from the collaborating partners for 60 days.

Data analysis and aggregate findings from that survey should be completed and disseminated by April 2022 – information that should help guide the creation of global solutions end human trafficking and free victims from enslavement

State departments of transportation from across the country remain engaged with the U.S. Department of Transportation and other organizations to combat human trafficking and related criminal enterprises.

Jack Marchbanks

“Human trafficking is a despicable activity and every attempt to combat it should be employed,” explained Jack Marchbanks, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, in a statement this past February.

“The thousands of Ohio DOT employees that work on the state’s roads and bridges everyday are a valuable asset in fighting this evil,” he added. “I am proud that we can be part of this effort.”

He added that the Ohio DOT has been working with state partners to raise awareness about human trafficking, specifically by providing information on how trafficking victims can get help in the agency-operate highway rest area facilities.

editor@aashto.org

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