In preparation for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month in January, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) is launching a human trafficking awareness campaign to highlight what community members can do if they believe someone is being trafficked while using public transportation.
Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that occurs across the globe. The National Human Trafficking Hotline ranks Nevada as 13th in the number of trafficking cases reported. Since 2007, the National Hotline has received almost 3,400 calls pertaining to Nevada, leading to more than 1,400 trafficking victims identified.
Earlier this year, the RTC received a $160,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as part of the ‘Innovations in Transit Public Safety’ program to support efforts in combatting human trafficking.
The RTC trained all front-line employees, transit operators and security officers to help identify human trafficking victims and assist them in safely leaving their traffickers. The program includes partnerships with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Criminal Justice department to evaluate the training and FirstMed Health and Wellness, a local organization that helps provide comprehensive wrap-around relief services once a victim is identified.
“Traffickers rely on the transportation industry in every phase of human trafficking, from recruitment to the delivery of victims to buyers,” said MJ Maynard, RTC CEO. “Public transit agencies may come in contact with victims on a regular basis, and this grant allows us to become part of the solution.”
The awareness campaign is featured across the valley’s transit stops and hubs, inside and outside of buses, on digital billboards and on social media platforms.
If anyone believes they – or someone they know – are being trafficked, they can approach an RTC employee, transit operator or security officer; or report it anonymously on the RTC’s Transit Watch app. Those seeking assistance can also contact FirstMed 24/7 at 1-844-460-0003.