The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking (ACHT) held its third and final public hearing on May 16 to review its draft report “Combating Human Trafficking in the Transportation Sector.”
The advisory committee, which kicked off its first meeting in December 2018, was charged with developing strategies that state agencies and local transportation stakeholders can utilize to implement anti-human trafficking initiatives.
NATSO Vice President of Public Affairs Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman serves as Vice Chair of ACHT's Subcommittee on Awareness and Training.
Representatives from organizations that fight human trafficking as well as academics and representatives of the various modes of transportation, including trucking, bus, airlines and ports have worked for months to draft the report. The committee must submit its final draft report to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao by July 3, 2019.
This draft report by the Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking offers a systematic assessment of data, strategies, policies, protocols, training and awareness needs regarding the intersection of the transportation sector and human trafficking. Globally, it is estimated that as many as 24.9 million men, women and children are exploited through human trafficking, although the exact scope of human trafficking is difficult to ascertain, according to the draft final report.
Recommendations and best practices were outlined for the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Congress, states, private industry, NGOs and local transportation authorities with regard to funding, partnerships, policies and protocols, training and awareness, data and information-sharing and survivor support.
Specifically, the draft report recommends that the U.S. Department of Transportation continue funding for counter-trafficking initiatives and training programs, develop mode-specific model reporting protocols, facilitate focus groups and research, and measure progress among others.
The draft report also recommends that the U.S. Congress increase grants and other funding for all modes of transportation to combat human trafficking; dedicate federal funding for U.S. DOT counter-trafficking initiatives and provide funding for the creation of mode-specific human trafficking awareness training. The draft report also recommends increased funding for the National Human Trafficking hotline.
Recommendations for states include the creation of a state human trafficking task force and the implementation of mode-specific policies and reporting protocols as well as transportation and law enforcement training.
The draft report further lists human trafficking indicators for each mode of transportation and contains an appendix highlighting existing education and public awareness materials available for each mode of transportation.
The draft report includes “Implementation Guides” for transportation stakeholders that offer actionable next steps for state and private transportation industry stakeholders seeking to implement an anti-human trafficking strategy.
The implementation guide for truckstops and travel centers in the draft final report includes information on the NATSO Foundation’s online education course, “The Role of Truckstops in Combating Human Trafficking,” as well as the NATSO Foundation’s many other public awareness resources, including the Foundation’s recently released toolkit, “Combating Human Trafficking.”
The report must be submitted to Secretary Chao for review by July 3, at which time the Secretary may accept the report or return it to the committee with questions.
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