HARRISBURG, Pa. – In an effort to help combat human trafficking, Governor Tom Wolf announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is training its front line Driver License Center staff to notice signs of a potential trafficking situation.
PennDOT is working with the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association to help arrange this training for their operators as well, and is sharing trafficking awareness information with commercial drivers who visit Driver License Centers.
“I applaud Secretary Richards and PennDOT for their work to combat human trafficking,” said Governor Wolf. “Spreading awareness and training PennDOT employees on how to identify possible human trafficking victims is an important step in fighting this horrific issue.”
“Human trafficking has sadly become a worldwide problem and developed into a $32 billion a year trade,” said PennDOT Lese S. Richards. “We at PennDOT are doing our part to help spot victims and get them assistance.”
The training, developed by PennDOT in partnership with the Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, and Truckers against Trafficking, defines trafficking and how victims are forced and coerced into it. The training also instructs employees how to call the appropriate authorities and what information to collect if they see potential trafficking.
As of January 13, every transit agency director across Pennsylvania has been trained, and PennDOT expects its Driver License Center and transit agency staff to be trained by summer 2017.
Additionally, PennDOT is now distributing wallet cards to CDL holders and applicants at its Driver License Centers, which contain information regarding how to report a tip to law enforcement when suspecting human trafficking activities.
Pennsylvania enacted Act 105 in 2014 to define human trafficking and give law enforcement tools needed to go after traffickers.
Here are links to information about human trafficking:
• Blue Campaign (USDOT/USDHS Joint Initiative): https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign
• Polaris (National human trafficking non-profit): https://polarisproject.org/
• Truckers Against Trafficking: http://www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org/
• Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation: https://cseinstitute.org/
Instances of human trafficking can also be reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.
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