GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Greensboro Transit Authority has joined a national movement to play a role in stopping the spread of human trafficking through the U.S.
“North Carolina has been ranked in the top 10 for human trafficking in the area,” said Kevin Elwood, with GTA. “Is because we have such a robust transportation networks through the state. So, what better way to counter that than to use transportation assets to bring attention and awareness.”
GTA announced that they will be adding signs on each of its buses labeled “Human Trafficking exists is North Carolina.” It will also include various definitions of what constitutes abuse and human trafficking. “Turn our buses into mobile safe places,” Elwood said.
GTA is also partnering with law enforcement to train around 250 of their bus drivers on what to look for in identifying possible human trafficking victims.
“For example, a person who is not familiar with their surroundings; don’t know where they are, what city they’re in; they don’t have their identification documents; if they have any type of hesitancy to talk about their background,” Elwood said.
The bus drivers will be given instructions on the proper procedures and channels to go through in reporting this information to the authorities.
Along with the additional signage to buses and training of staff, GTA is also working to develop an app that will allow riders to anonymously report suspicious behavior to authorities.
In addition, the Greensboro Transit Authority also provided the following statement:
Human trafficking is one of the greatest atrocities of the 21st century. With as many as 24.9 million men, women and children sold into prostitution, domestic servitude or other forced labor in dark corners around the globe, it may seem like a problem beyond our borders.
But the truth is, it’s happening in our communities across America, in North Carolina and even right here in Greensboro. Those committing this awful crime are using America’s roadways, railways, waterways and skies to traffic victims. We cannot allow our transportation system to be an enabler in such awful acts. However, we can use our system to help stop it.
Greensboro Transit Agency is joining with our partners across the transportation industry to stop the flow of human trafficking. As we are a consistent presence on Greensboro streets, GTA is committed not only to preparing our own employees to recognize and report suspected instances, but also to raising awareness among our riders. Our message is that human trafficking will not be tolerated.
In addition to joining the national transportation sector effort, GTA is taking the following local measures:
- Signing the United States Department of Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking Initiative Pledge.
- Publicizing the signs of human trafficking with posted signage on board GTA & HEAT buses and at transit facilities/offices.
- Performing community outreach through social media, website, on-board automated announcements and production of a video PSA message.
- Training bus operators, supervisors and customer service agents to observe for instances of possible trafficking
- Coordinating with Greensboro Police Department on public education events and materials.
We invite you to join us in the fight to end modern slavery. Visit ridegta.com to learn the basic indicators of human trafficking, and be alert when you travel. To report a suspected case of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or send a text to 233733. Your simple act of calling in a tip could save lives and help us move closer to a world without slavery.