The recent National Human Trafficking Hotline ranks Nevada 13th in the number of trafficking cases reported. Since 2007, the National Hotline has received almost 3,400 calls pertaining to Nevada, leading to more than 1,400 trafficking victims identified, including children.
And why are transit organizations important? Traffickers rely on the transportation industry in every phase of human trafficking, from recruitment to the delivery of victims to buyers. We may be coming in contact with victims on a daily basis. They could be sitting in our buses and transit terminals or waiting at our stops.
Earlier this year, we were awarded the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) ‘Innovations in Transit Public Safety Grant’ to support three distinct efforts in combatting human trafficking. This grant from the FTA allows public transit agencies to become part of the solution.
Now we are training all of our front-line employees, transit operators and security officers to help identify human trafficking victims and assist them in safely leaving their traffickers.
We’ve partnered with FirstMed, a local organization, to help provide comprehensive wrap-around relief services once a victim has been identified on our system. We also collaborated with UNLV’s Criminal Justice Department to evaluate the training program throughout the process.
The third portion of the program includes rolling out a community-wide awareness campaign. Over the next couple of weeks, you will begin to see this ad displayed throughout the valley to highlight what everyone can do if they believe or see someone who may be trafficked.
The campaign will be featured at:
- Transit stops
- Inside transit vehicles, and outside as full vehicle wraps
- Posters at our facilities and full building wraps at our downtown transit center
- Social media advertising, and
- Across digital radio platforms
We hope this awareness campaign will help bring to light a very serious issue and result in help for human trafficking victims.