The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on March 29 launched a new Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative, which includes two Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) totaling $4 million to prevent human trafficking and other crimes that may occur on buses, trains and other modes of public transportation.
“Traffickers use all forms of transportation to conduct their activities, and often use public transit due to its low cost, greater anonymity in buying fare cards and less direct interaction with government or transit officials,” FTA said. “This initiative builds upon the department’s work with transportation stakeholders across all types of transportation to prevent human trafficking.”
The two FTA-published NOFOs—the Innovations in Transit Public Safety NOFO and the Crime Prevention and Public Safety Awareness NOFO—each have $2 million in competitive funding and an application submission deadline of May 28, 2019.
The goal of the former is “to develop projects that assist transit agencies with identifying and adopting specific measures to address public safety in transit systems, including crime prevention, human trafficking, and operator assault. Eligible applicants are limited to State and local governmental entities; providers of public transportation; non-profit organizations; or a consortium of entities, including a provider of public transportation that will share the costs, risks and rewards of early deployment and demonstration of innovation.”
The latter’s goal is to “develop and disseminate materials supporting public safety awareness campaigns for transit systems, including crime prevention, human trafficking and operator assault. Eligible applicants for awards are national non-profit organizations. Organizations must have crime prevention experience, the capacity to provide public transportation-related technical assistance and the ability to deliver a national public awareness campaign.”
The Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, announced in October 2018, consists of 15 stakeholders from trafficking advocacy organizations; law enforcement; and trucking, bus, rail, aviation, maritime and port sectors, including industry and labor. The committee must submit recommendations to USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao by July 3 that include:
- Strategies for identifying and reporting instances of human trafficking.
- Recommendations for administrative or legislative changes to use programs, properties or other resources owned, operated or funded by the Department to combat human trafficking.
- Best practices for states and state and local transportation stakeholders based on multidisciplinary research and promising evidence-based models and programs, including sample training materials and strategies to identify victims.
Furthermore, the Department is working to prevent human trafficking via its Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative, “which focuses on leadership engagement, raising public awareness, employee training and partnerships.”
More information on the government’s efforts to thwart human trafficking can be found here.