January is National Human Trafficking Month. SEPTA has been and will continue working to raise awareness on the system and throughout the city. On January 31, 2023 – SEPTA announced that the Authority is partnering with Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia and the Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware to assist in these efforts.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline – Pennsylvania ranks ninth in the nation for the most reported cases of human trafficking.
Under this partnership – SEPTA is displaying the National Human Trafficking Hotline across all digital screens on the system. Since 2014 – the Authority has installed permanent signage at select Transit and Regional Rail stations. The signs promoting the hotline are now part of SEPTA’s standard sign package.
In 2020 – SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards joined transportation leaders from across the country at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Put The Brakes On Human Trafficking event in Washington DC - where she signed the Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking Pledge.
“SEPTA is proud to be one of the leading transportation agencies working to prevent human trafficking,” said Richards. “Every frontline employee is trained to recognize the characteristics of trafficking, and SEPTA Transit Police officers attend the Villanova Law Institute to learn how to investigate these crimes.”
Dr. Ellyn Jo Waller of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church founded the She’s My Sister Anti-Human Trafficking Ministry – which hosts events to support the Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware’s New Day Center in Kensington. The center provides a consistent, safe, and welcoming environment for women exploited by the commercial sex industry.
“Once my eyes were knocked wide open about the existence of this horrific crime against humanity –human trafficking – I have been relentlessly attempting to combat it,” said Dr. Ellyn Jo Waller. “The support of my husband, Rev. Dr. Alyn E. Waller, Enon Tabernacle’s Senior Pastor, the She’s My Sister Anti-Human Trafficking Ministry, and the entire Enon congregation has allowed for significant impact. Enon Tabernacle has sown and continues to sow into efforts to transform the lives of those victimized through fund and awareness raising. Our partnership with New Day is one way we answer the call of Psalm 94:16.”
“We remain forever grateful for the unwavering commitment and compassionate care that Enon’s partnership provides in the fight against human trafficking,” said Major Tawny Cowen-Zanders, Divisional Secretary for Greater Philadelphia, Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. “Their willingness to stand in the gap has ensured thousands of individuals have a sacred, safe space to go. From the very beginning – they have been and continue to be trusted partners and friends – both through our Drop-in Center in Kensington and our Transitional Housing Program. We thank them for providing hope and help to those in need.”
While January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month – human trafficking happens every day, and SEPTA encourages everyone to be part of the solution by learning how to spot the signs. Human trafficking is a report category on the SEPTA Transit Watch app – which gives riders the ability to discreetly report safety and security issues to SEPTA Transit Police. You can also contact SEPTA Transit Police with a simple text message to (215) 234-1911 or the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
If you see something - then say something. Let’s work together to put an end to this horrific crime. For more information regarding human trafficking and actions you can take - please visit https://humantraffickinghotline.org/en.