GO-TIME Project Continues to Increase Trafficking Awareness in Transportation
HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Leslie S. Richards has announced that the department has signed the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking pledge.
She also urged the public to take part in the national #WearBlueDay initiative on Thursday, Jan. 11, the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness.
With January highlighted as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, Richards also provided an update on the department’s Governor’s Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management and Efficiency (GO-TIME) project that includes training thousands of PennDOT and transit-agency employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking.
“Joining this nationwide initiative will help us continue to share resources and best practices in Pennsylvania and across the country,” Richards said.
“We are just beginning to scratch the surface on how serious this problem is, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to ‘put the brakes’ on it.”
Through the department’s GO-TIME project to modernize driver and vehicle services operations, the department has trained 500 of its front-line Driver License Center employees to notice signs of a potential trafficking situation. PennDOT’s 64 Welcome Center employees have also been trained.
In addition, through a partnership with the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association, every transit agency director in the state has been trained and the aim is to have all of the nearly 15,000 transit agency employees statewide trained by July 1, 2018.
The training was developed by PennDOT in partnership with the Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, and Truckers against Trafficking. The web-based training is also available to the rest of PennDOT’s employees.
Additionally, PennDOT is now distributing wallet cards to Welcome Center visitors as well as 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.
There are various resources and information sources for human trafficking, including:
- Blue Campaign (USDOT/USDHS Joint Initiative);
- Polaris (National human trafficking non-profit);
- Truckers Against Trafficking; and
- Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation.
Instances of human trafficking can also be reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at1-888-373-7888 or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at 1-866-347-2423.