MoDOT to Join National Effort to Combat Human Trafficking
MoDOT is joining other transportation stakeholders to help fight against human trafficking.
MoDOT says in a press release that as a "signatory to the Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT) pledge, the transportation agency will voluntarily commit to educating employees and raising public awareness of human trafficking issues impacting our state and nation."
MoDOT employees will receive specialized training about the common indicators of human trafficking and how to report potential cases of the crime.
The Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking pledge is described as an "initiative of the U.S. Department of Transportation that involves transportation and travel industry stakeholders working jointly to combat human trafficking."
MoDOT has provided some education about human trafficking over the years and the hope is that the national partnership will bring additional awareness to the issue.
“We may not think that human trafficking is happening around us, but the truth is, it’s happening in cities and small communities all across America,” MoDOT Interim Motor Carrier Services Director Steve Meystrik said.
According to the press release, those involved in human trafficking are using roadways, railways, waterways and skies. Kansas City, St. Louis, Branson, and locations along the I-44 corridor including Rolla, Springfield and Joplin are the most common locations in Missouri for human trafficking cases to be reported.
In 2017, it was reported that Missouri had the 16th highest number of human trafficking cases reported in the country, Meystrik said.
It was noted that the board of directors of the Mid-America Association of State Transportation Officials (MAASTO) recently signed the pledge. MAASTO includes Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Kansas. In addition, more than 200 organizations throughout the transportation industry have taken the pledge.