January was declared “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month”, as the White House pledges to help end this horrific practice. Believe it or not, the selling and buying of humans is a crime inflicting over 22 million children worldwide according to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Corruption (UNDOC), and $32 billion-a-year global industry, according to the U.S. State Department. As many as 20 million men, women, and children are held against their will and trafficked into forced labor and prostitution.
Airports and Transits play a key role in stopping this crime
Transportation systems are a key element to help stop this epidemic because they are often the unwilling conduit for the flow of human trafficking through borders and jurisdictions, as sex traffickers take their victims to their dismal destination. Catching these criminals while in transit is one of the few opportunities to recognize and report traffickers before the victims disappear – often forever – into the intended slave location. In fact, The Department of Transportation developed the Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT) initiative to encourage transportation and travel industry stakeholders to maximize their collective impact in combating human trafficking. To date, TLAHT has engaged with over 200 organizations from across the transportation industry.
In addition to TLAHT’s strategies and training to help transportation agencies take action, airports and transits can help combat this epidemic by empowering their employees and the public with a way to easily report suspicious behaviors. As ABC News reported these victims are often “hidden in plain sight,” and people often see things when the criminals are transporting their victims. The public needs an easier way to report behaviors they see in real time, without having to get unnecessarily involved with the authorities.
People want to do the right thing – when it’s easy
While most people want to do the right thing and report bad or suspicious behaviors that they observe, they are often hesitant to label something an emergency and dial 911 to speak on a recorded line – especially when they are not sure of the situation but just have a bad feeling. With a mobile app like ELERTS See Say, transportation agencies can ensure their employees and the public can report such activities with the push of a button. People can also share their GPS location, a photo or even a video, helping police to act more quickly and accurately. In North America, 16 transit agencies already use ELERTS See Say app.
The public is a powerful entity in helping police. Crowd-sourcing works, but it must be simple and fast. We hope to see more transportation agencies get involved in this important fight against human trafficking by providing mobile apps for their riders to share reports with police. If you’re interested in learning more about how See Say can help your airport or transit join the fight, request a demo today.