U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called on transportation stakeholders this week to join the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in combating human trafficking.
The remarks came during the Department’s announcement of 2021’s recipient of the “Combating Human Trafficking in Transportation Impact Award,” which awards $50,000 to individuals and organizations developing initiatives to combat human trafficking in the transportation sector.
“Human trafficking takes place on every mode of transportation in America – and we must change that,” Buttigieg said. “I ask all transportation professionals to join this effort, and it’s equally important for commuters and travelers to be empowered to recognize and report signs of human trafficking anywhere it happens in our transportation systems.”
Established in 2019 on the recommendation of the DOT’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, the initiatives can be new technology, tools, or campaigns.
First place went to the A21 Campaign, expanding its “Can You See Me?” Roadside Billboard Initiative. The campaign consists of 1,000 billboards in 46 cities across the country countering human trafficking.
Second place went to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for its Combating Silence: Increasing Awareness to Louisiana Human Trafficking proposal to reach up to 5.3 million road users. And third place went to “Busing on the Lookout” for its Capturing Innovation to Build Public Transit’s Capacity to Combat Human Trafficking proposal that would engage up to 72 transit agencies to increase human trafficking training, partnerships, awareness, and reporting amongst transit agencies across the country.