USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao announced a nationwide initiative to combat human trafficking in the transportation industry this week with an objective of training over 1 million employees in the transportation workforce to spot and report these heinous crimes.
Congressman Chris Smith spoke at the event in Washington this week to support the effort.
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, affecting millions of adults and children in the United States and worldwide. Victims are of every age, race, gender, background, citizenship, and immigration status. Some are trafficked within their own communities on various forms of transportation, while others are transported to new locations.
To amplify counter-trafficking efforts, Secretary Chao established an annual $50,000 award to incentivize individuals and entities, including non-governmental organizations, transportation industry associations, research institutions, and State and local government organizations, to think creatively in developing innovative solutions to combat human trafficking in the transportation industry. The Department will review applications and determine the individual or entity that will most effectively utilize these funds to combat human trafficking.
Secretary Chao also announced $5.4 million in grant selections through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative. Twenty-four organizations across the country will each receive funding for projects to help prevent human trafficking and other crimes on public transportation.
Congressman Smith’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are posted below:Smith remarks on human trafficking 012820 DOT