By Holly Austin Smith — From her column Speaking Out in the Washington Times Communities
RICHMOND, VA, February 10, 2013 – Last October, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, and Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman announced a partnership among the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and Amtrak to combat human trafficking. Under this partnership, DHS and DOT would work with Amtrak to train over 8,000 frontline transportation employees and Amtrak Police Department officers to identify and recognize indicators of human trafficking, as well as how to report suspected cases of human trafficking.
DOT announced that this partnership is also part of their efforts to raise awareness about the issue and to ensure that the U.S. transportation system is not being exploited for human trafficking. The DOT has stated that, under the leadership of Secretary Ray LaHood, nearly all Department of Transportation employees have completed an anti-human trafficking training that covers common signs of trafficking and how to report it. DOT contractor employees are expected to begin the training soon.
“We cannot let the American transportation system be an enabler in these criminal acts,” stated Secretary LaHood. “In addition to…partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and Amtrak, we are working with all modes of transportation to help stop the flow of human trafficking. Raising awareness can save lives, and we all have a responsibility to keep an eye out for these activities.”