North Carolina public transportation employees will now have access to a training program that will help them to recognize and respond if they suspect human trafficking.
“Human traffickers frequently use public transportation to move their victims because it’s inexpensive and provides for greater anonymity,” said Julie White, North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) deputy secretary for multi-modal transportation. “That’s why it’s critically important that front-line staff and operators of our public transit vehicles know what to look for and how to respond, if they even suspect they’re witnessing human trafficking.”
NCDOT’s Integrated mobility division used a $120,000 federal grant awarded in 2019 to develop and deliver training on human trafficking for public transit providers statewide. Since then, IMD designed a web training course tailored for transit employees that will be required for all North Carolina public transportation agencies. The grant was awarded by the Federal Transit Administration’s Innovations in Public Safety.
In addition, IMD created posters to be distributed across the state and a public service announcment to be used in conjunction with the online training program. These materials educate public transit employees and members of the public about the common warning signs of human trafficking and how to report concerns.
Human trafficking is a widespread problem and the second largest criminal activity in the world. In 2022, North Carolina ranked ninth in the nation for human trafficking according to a report released by the National Human Trafficking Hotline.