The Ohio and Arizona Departments of Transportation each recently provided updates on their efforts to combat human trafficking.
[Above photo by the Arizona DOT.]
On January 29, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) tapped the Ohio DOT to participate in the governor’s Human Trafficking Task Force.
“Human trafficking is a despicable activity and every attempt to combat it should be employed,” explained Jack Marchbanks, Ohio DOT’s director, in a statement. “The thousands of Ohio DOT employees that work on the state’s roads and bridges everyday are a valuable asset in fighting this evil. I am proud that we can be part of this effort.”
He added that the Ohio DOT has been working with state partners to raise awareness about human trafficking; specifically by providing information on how trafficking victims can get help in the agency-operate highway rest area facilities.
The Ohio DOT also includes information on recognizing and reporting human trafficking in the 350,000 oversize/overweight special hauling permits it issues annually to truckers driving through Ohio and in private plane registration packets mailed to private plane owners.
The agency also provides human trafficking awareness training to all new hires and is currently developing specialized training for its field employees.
“Utilizing state employees in the field to recognize and report potential human trafficking offenders and victims will help increase the ability of law enforcement to find perpetrators and rescue victims,” the Ohio DOT noted.
Meanwhile, the Arizona DOT highlighted how it is training members of its Enforcement and Compliance Division – comprised of certified law enforcement officers – to spot the “warning signs” of human trafficking at ports of entry along Arizona’s borders.
The agency added that its enforcement division is developing online training so Arizona DOT highway workers will also be ready to spot the signs of human trafficking.
“As the state’s transportation agency, we are in a critical position to help stop human trafficking and we take that role very seriously,” said John Halikowski, Arizona DOT’s director, in a statement. “[Our] commitment to transportation safety includes the victims of this horrible practice.”