The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is joining other agencies throughout the country in recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
MDOT’s Office of Enforcement has been working in conjunction with Gov. Phil Bryant’s Human Trafficking Task Force since 2015. MDOT Enforcement Officers are trained to identify and police human trafficking on the state’s highways and weigh stations.
“Like other enforcement agencies across the country, MDOT recognizes that members of the trucking industry are an invaluable asset in the fight against this heinous crime,” MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath said. “Considering over 200 cases of human trafficking have been reported in Mississippi since 2007, it is absolutely critical that MDOT’s Office of Enforcement partner with these organizations to further train our officers on ways we can combat this increasing issue and uncover these victims.”
Human trafficking is a form of slavery that forces victims to participate in commercial sex acts or labor services. It is a global problem and considered one of the most severe human rights issues.
Victims are transported via commercial vehicles and are not kept in one location for long.
In 2017, there were 24 cases of human trafficking in Mississippi and 4,460 cases in the United States, according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.