January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day which aims to bring attention to a crime that leaves a lasting toll on human life, families, and communities around the world.
Beginning in 2010, by Presidential Proclamation, each January has been designated National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Human trafficking is considered a modern form of slavery. This illegal act involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain labor or sex. Traffickers use violence, manipulation, or false promises to lure their victims into trafficking situations. Trafficking victims usually experience physical and/or psychological abuse. They might also endure sexual abuse, food and sleep deprivation, threats to family members, and isolation from the outside world. Family members of the victim may also get threatened.
SEPTA is proud to be one of the leading transportation agencies working to prevent this awful crime. Human Trafficking affects every city, suburb, and rural area in the U.S. - as traffickers claim more than 25 million victims globally and generate billions annually.
Please take a moment to watch this short video https://youtu.be/hNfxecULiJs which highlights SEPTA’s continued commitment to put the brakes on human trafficking.
Every frontline SEPTA employee has been trained to recognize the characteristics of trafficking and our Transit Police officers have received special training from the Villanova Law Institute to identify and investigate human trafficking and address Commercial Exploitation. In the video, you can see Bus Operator Shirley Russell putting her training into action successfully preventing a young girl from being abducted on her bus route.
Please do your part to recognize the red flags such as someone looking fearful or traveling with minimal or inappropriate luggage or clothing. If you see something - please say something.
To learn more about ways to prevent human trafficking, visit https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign.