The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently kicked off the first meeting of its Human Trafficking Advisory Committee, which aims to develop strategies that state agencies and local transportation stakeholders can utilize to implement anti-human trafficking initiatives.
The committee includes 15 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.
NATSO Vice President of Public Affairs Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman serves as Vice Chair of the group’s Subcommittee on Awareness and Training. Additional subcommittees focus on research and information sharing and protocols and policy development.
The Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act, signed into law in early 2018, required the Secretary of Transportation to establish an advisory committee to make recommendations on actions the Department can take to help combat human trafficking. The committee also is tasked with developing recommended best practices for state Departments of Transportation as well as state and local transportation stakeholders to follow, including strategies for identifying and reporting suspected incidents of human trafficking.
The committee must submit its recommendations to Secretary Chao by July 3, 2019.
For nearly a decade NATSO has been engaged in efforts to help combat human trafficking, including serving on DOT’s stakeholder group, Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT). NATSO worked with TLAHT to develop its “Put the Brakes on Human Trafficking” public awareness campaign.
NATSO continues to expand its partnerships and initiatives designed to teach the truckstop and travel plaza industry how to identify and report suspected incidents of human trafficking.
The NATSO Foundation launched an online course to teach truckstop owners, operators and employees how to respond if they suspect human trafficking. The course is available free of charge to any member of the truckstop and travel plaza community at https://www.natso.com/onlinelearning.
Most recently, the NATSO Foundation released a “Combating Human Trafficking” toolkit to offer truckstops and travel centers a roadmap for implementing an anti-human trafficking education and awareness program at their individual locations.
In releasing the toolkit, the NATSO Foundation also introduced a 50-state chart of human trafficking awareness poster laws. The chart is designed to help members understand how to comply with state laws on human trafficking awareness. This is an important tool for truckstops and travel centers as many state laws reference businesses that provide services and amenities which many truckstop and travel plazas offer, such as overnight truck parking, food, fuel and lodging.
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