AUSTIN – As part of a statewide effort to raise awareness, increase vigilance and report signs of human trafficking, the Texas Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Office of the Governor, law enforcement and industry partners, is launching its “On the Road to End Human Trafficking” initiative.
“Human trafficking is a horrific crime that knows no boundaries and, sadly, affects hundreds of thousands of women, children and men across our state and around the world,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “We are proud to work with the Governor’s Commission for Women and other partners to bring an end to this modern-day slavery.”
Similar to a neighborhood watch program, the initiative encourages everyone to know, watch for and report signs of trafficking. According to University of Texas research, more than 300,000 people are trafficked in Texas at any given time, including 79,000 youth victims. These innocent human beings are horrifically abused by being forced into slavery, either in the form of hard labor or sex/prostitution.
To raise public awareness and help eradicate this criminal activity, TxDOT is educating its employees as well as travelers. For employees, a wallet card along with an information sheet to keep in TxDOT vehicles provide details on signs to look for and steps to take to report trafficking. Posters and restroom stall signs also will be displayed in TxDOT’s Texas Travel Information Centers and Safety Rest Areas across the state to provide critical information to victims of human trafficking on how to reach out for help. The public is encouraged to use a toll-free, 24/7 confidential phone number, (888) 373-7888, to report suspected trafficking; victims are encouraged to call 911. TxDOT’s human trafficking materials are available for others to download and use at www.txdot.gov.