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DOT’s Commitment to Prevent Human Trafficking

Human trafficking encompasses victims of forced labor and sexual exploitation coerced or deceived into jobs that they can’t leave.  It is happening in rural and urban areas across our country.  It could well be occurring in your own zip code. 

– Secretary Elaine L.Chao

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) works with transportation stakeholders across all modes of transportation to prevent human trafficking and is a member of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking (PITF), a cabinet-level entity chaired by the Secretary of State and created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to coordinate federal human trafficking efforts.DOT has created a new Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, made up of 15 stakeholders from trafficking advocacy organizations; law enforcement; and trucking, bus, rail, aviation, maritime, and port sectors, including industry and labor.  The committee will submit recommendations to Secretary Chao by July 3, 2019. DOT collaborates with federal, state, and local transportation stakeholders across the U.S. through its Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative to engage industry leaders, train transportation employees, develop educational tools, and facilitate public awareness campaigns.

Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT)

  • DOT created the TLAHT partnership to maximize the transportation industry’s collective impact in combatting human trafficking.
     
  • The 200+ stakeholders the Department has engaged with to date issue leadership statements, sign pledges, develop reporting protocols, train their employees, and conduct public awareness campaigns.
     
  • DOT’s 55,000 employees are required to take an anti-human trafficking training every three years; to date they were trained in 2012 and 2016.
     
  • DOT collaborates with the Department of Homeland Security and non-governmental organizations to offer its stakeholders a suite of training tools tailored for the transportation industry.
     
  • Under this initiative, Amtrak trained all 20,000 employees, Greyhound trained its drivers, and 18 airline partners trained over 100,000 aviation personnel under the branded Blue Lightning Initiative training for aviation personnel.  DOT continues to increase the number of transportation employees being trained.
     
  • Through its membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), DOT is encouraging greater engagement by Ministries of Transportation across the Asia-Pacific region and highlighting best practices in the United States, Thailand, and other countries through A21’s Can You See Me? public awareness campaign.
     
  • A21’s Can You See Me? public awareness campaign expanded to U.S. airports in 2018 with posters and videos to educate transportation employees and the traveling public on how to recognize and respond to human trafficking.

Blue Lightning Initiative

  • DOT also partners with the aviation industry through the Blue Lightning Initiative (BLI), led by DOT, the Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  BLI trains aviation industry personnel to identify potential traffickers and human trafficking victims, and to report their suspicions to federal law enforcement. 
     
  • BLI provides participating partners with a training module that was developed with input from survivor advocates, law enforcement, and aviation experts. The interactive module outlines common indicators of human trafficking that aviation personnel may encounter, and explains how airline personnel can immediately report potential victims and their traffickers to law enforcement; both in-flight and on the ground.  The module includes aviation-based scenarios that allow users to practice recognizing human trafficking indicators.  The module may be integrated into initial and refresher training for flight attendants, pilots, customer service representatives, and other aviation personnel.  The BLI training module is rounded out with supplemental educational materials. 
     
  • To date, more than 100,000 personnel in the aviation industry have been trained through BLI, and actionable tips continue to be reported to law enforcement. 

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

  • The FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) plays a key role in BLI when aviation personnel report a human trafficking tip through the domestic events network or DEN, an interagency teleconferencing system that operates 24-7.  Established by the FAA, the DEN permits FAA’s partners – flight crews, customer service representatives for the airlines, and state and local law enforcement agencies and law enforcement – to communicate human trafficking concerns and coordinate appropriate responses.  DEN air traffic security coordinators are specially trained to assist flight crews and other aviation industry professionals in responding to suspected human trafficking events.  In addition, the FAA ensures all of its employees receive specialized training to recognize possible human trafficking events.
     
  • Through its successful partnerships, the FAA has responded to hundreds of Blue Lighting reports, which the FAA passed on to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for further action.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

  • In response to the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act and the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act, FMCSA has taken steps to begin developing outreach and communication regarding human trafficking prevention and awareness.
     
  • No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act: Permanently prohibits anyone who has used a commercial vehicle to commit a felony involving human trafficking from operating a commercial motor vehicle in the future.
     
  • Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act: Requires DOT to:
     
    • Designate an official to coordinate Department-wide activities designed to prevent and address human trafficking;
    • Establish a Departmental advisory committee on human trafficking consisting of external stakeholder partners and subject matter experts;
    • Authorize that certain FMCSA grant funds be used for human trafficking prevention; and
    • Expand FMCSA’s outreach and education program to include human trafficking recognition, prevention, and reporting activities.

To support human trafficking prevention and awareness, FMCSA has:

  • Conducted an environmental scan to identify existing human trafficking prevention campaigns focused on commercial motor vehicles, as well as federal agency and state-level initiatives that focus on the issue overall.  Findings in the report include:
  • Commercial motor vehicle (CMV)-Related Human Trafficking Prevention Initiatives 
  • Federal Agency Human Trafficking Prevention Initiatives
  • State-Level Human Trafficking Prevention Initiatives (state DMVs, county/city campaigns)
     
  • In FY 2018, the Commercial Driver’ License Program Implementation (CDLPI) grant program awarded approximately $430,000 in grants supporting human trafficking education, outreach, and training.
     
  • Georgia Department of Driver Services
  • Project Title: CDL Human Trafficking Education and Outreach Program
  • Recommended Award: $312,576
     
  • Louisiana Department of Public Safety
  • Project Title: Human Trafficking Training
  • Recommended Award: $119,769
     
  • Per the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act, FMCSA will include new language regarding outreach on this subject in their CDLPI grant program in FY 2019. The proposed language is:

Applications for human trafficking projects.  As provided in 49 USC 31313(a)(3), the FMCSA will prioritize grant applications that support the recognition, prevention, and reporting of human trafficking.  FMCSA will reimburse 90 percent of total project costs. 

Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

  • FTA’s Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Program supports DOT’s Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative through transit-focused industry engagement, training and technical assistance, public awareness and outreach, and research and technical assistance with the objective of combating human trafficking in transit.  The goal is to maximize the transportation industry’s collective impact on human trafficking. FTA is developing a human trafficking training video for the transit industry that will highlight indicators of human trafficking and best practices for prevention.

There are three components to the program:

  • Public Awareness and Industry Engagement
    • Dedicated program page on the FTA website featuring resources for the transit industry.
       
  • Training
    • Human Trafficking Training Video: FTA is developing a human trafficking training video for the transit industry that will highlight indicators of human trafficking and best practices for prevention.  The video will be posted to the Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Program landing page on FTA’s website.
       
  • Funding: $4 million in FY18 funds
    • Research ($2 million): FTA is preparing a Notice of Funding Opportunity to announce the availability of competitive funding under FTA’s FY 2018 Public Transportation Innovation Program.  It will include $2 million for Innovations in Transit Public Safety projects to support the development of innovative projects to assist transit agencies with identifying and adopting specific measures to address public safety in transit systems, including measures to prevent human trafficking.
       
  • Technical Assistance ($2 million): FTA is preparing a solicitation for proposals from nonprofit entities to develop technical assistance that will provide transit agencies with awareness and outreach materials for employees and riders of public transportation to increase transit safety.
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