Texas DOT Steps Up Anti Human Trafficking Effortseditor@aashto.org January 27, 2023 0 COMMENTS
The Texas Department of Transportation is joining forces with Cecilia Abbott (above), wife of Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R), and a host of other state agencies this January as part of Human Trafficking Prevention month.
[Above photo by the Texas Governor’s Office]
The agency is working to further raise awareness among the public about human trafficking as well as help state residents learn how to combat the crime.
“TxDOT plays a critical role in this fight as traffickers utilize our infrastructure to commit this crime,” TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams noted in a statement.
“We’re training our employees to spot it in rural, suburban, and urban communities across the state,” he added. “It’s important that we all work together to look for the signs because it can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.”
[Editor’s note: Other state departments of transportation are also working to raise awareness regarding the crime of human trafficking this January as well. For example, the Wyoming Department of Transportation issued the video below to help raise awareness among commercial truck drivers regarding ways to spot and stop human trafficking.]
TxDOT noted that the victims of human trafficking come from across society, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status or hometown.
Tackling the issue takes a variety of state agencies working together to raise awareness, and provide educational opportunities on how to spot the signs and how to report trafficking activity.
Through its Human Trafficking Work Group, TxDOT is also helping raise awareness with the public through multiple education efforts.
These include participating in #WearBlueDay on social media and in the office, creating and providing educational resources like flyers and wallet cards, listing common signs of trafficking, and how to report any suspicious activity while on or off the job through iWatchTexas.
State DOTs across the country have been involved in a variety of anti-human trafficking efforts over the past few years.
For example, the Minnesota Department of Transportation initiated a coordinated multidisciplinary effort in 2017 to battle against human trafficking in partnership with governmental and non-governmental agencies including the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Truckers Against Trafficking, and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is involved in a similar effort; one of hundreds of partners that signed on to the USDOT Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative to combat this crime across the country.
“Human trafficking is a hidden crime that needs to come out of the shadows,” Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson noted in a 2022 statement. “Traffickers are using our highway system to transport victims and perpetuate this crime. We are doing everything we can to stop it in Wisconsin.”