In an effort to help combat human trafficking, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced that the state Department of Transportation is training its Driver License Center staff on how to notice signs of a potential trafficking situation.
PennDOT said it is working with the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association to help arrange the training for transit operators as well, and is sharing trafficking awareness information with truckers and other commercial vehicle drivers who visit state Driver License Centers.
"Human trafficking has sadly become a worldwide problem and developed into a $32 billion a year trade," said PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards. "We at PennDOT are doing our part to help spot victims and get them assistance."
Other state DOTs have also taken steps to increase awareness and reporting of potential slavery and trafficking situations, either through licensing or
"I applaud Secretary Richards and PennDOT for their work to combat human trafficking," said Wolf. "Spreading awareness and training PennDOT employees on how to identify possible human trafficking victims is an important step in fighting this horrific issue."
The training, developed by PennDOT in partnership with the Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, and with Truckers against Trafficking, defines trafficking and shows how victims are coerced into it. The training also instructs employees on how to call appropriate authorities, and on what information to collect if they see potential trafficking.
PennDOT said that as of Jan. 13 every transit agency director across Pennsylvania had been trained, and the department expects all Driver License Center and transit agency staff to be trained by this summer.
Additionally, PennDOT is now distributing wallet cards to holders of commercial driver's licenses and applicants at its Driver License Centers. The cards contain information regarding how to report a tip to law enforcement when suspecting human trafficking activities.
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