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Put the Brakes on Human Trafficking

Posted by Posted by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao

For decent people, it is unbelievable to learn that in this day and age something so horrible as slavery still exists.  But that’s what “human trafficking” is and it is happening all over the world, including America.  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.  Of particular relevance to DOT, America’s roadways, railways, airways, and waterways are being used to facilitate this trafficking in human beings – adults and children.

At the Department of Transportation, initiatives are underway to increase awareness of human trafficking and equip transportation industry employees and the public with strategies to fight it.  Every mode collaborates with the private sector and federal, state, and local transportation stakeholders through our Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT) initiative to engage industry leaders, train transportation industry employees, and provide public awareness materials. We train our 55,000 DOT employees, and work with Federal agencies and NGOs to ensure a suite of human trafficking awareness trainings tailored for the aviation, rail, motor coach, trucking and transit industries are available.  Together, we are training flight attendants, truck drivers, train conductors, bus drivers, and other transportation employees to recognize and report human trafficking.

The Department of Transportation is ensuring that truck drivers using a commercial vehicle to commit human trafficking permanently lose their commercial license.  We are also establishing a Federal advisory committee to identify and share best practices in combating this crime across the transportation industry.  And on the international front, we have secured commitments from over 50 transportation ministries to continue working on this issue around the globe. 

It is going to take a sustained, concerted effort to make headway against human trafficking.  Transportation leaders: your help is needed, because all forms of transportation are being used to traffick people.  Truck stops, sea ports, airports, bus terminals, rail stations, and other transportation hubs can help by training employees and displaying public service announcements.  Public awareness is key to identifying and reporting human trafficking.  Each tip may make the difference in saving someone's life. 

So please, join us in this effort by signing the TLAHT pledge, issuing a leadership statementtraining your employees, and conducting public awareness campaigns. 

Together, we can help put an end to the inhumanity of human trafficking.

Secretary Chao Portrait and Human Trafficking Quote