On Thursday, I'll be wearing blue — do you know why? It's because an estimated 20.9 million adults and children worldwide are victims of human trafficking, according to the International Labour Organization. That startling statistic includes hundreds of thousands of victims right here in the United States. And we've had enough. It's time to put the brakes on human trafficking of any kind.
Thursday is the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness, and I am pleased to announce that PennDOT has signed the Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking pledge, a nationwide initiative to help transportation and travel agencies share resources and best practices. Working together with the U.S. Departments of Transportation (DoT) and Homeland Security (DHS), along with industry stakeholders, will increase our collective impact in the fight to safeguard our freedoms and values.
This collaboration is in addition to work already underway as part of the Governor's Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management and Efficiency (GO-TIME) project, which includes training thousands of PennDOT and transit-agency employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking. To date, we have trained 500 front-line Driver License Center employees to notice signs of a potential trafficking situation, as well as 64 Welcome Center employees. It is our goal, through a partnership with the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association, to train every transit-agency director in the state and all of the nearly 15,000 transit-agency employees statewide by July 1, 2018.
Drivers on the road can help too. Instances of human trafficking can be reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at 1-866-347-2423. Various information and resources on human trafficking include:
So today, I'm wearing blue. Will you join me?
You can help spread the word on social media, by sharing this Tweet and hashtag:
"I'm wearing blue today with @PennDOTNews and @DHSBlueCampaign to put the brakes on human trafficking, which affects close to 30 million people globally. #WearBlueDay #WeWearBlueBecause"