Contact: Alex Navarro
Phone: (512) 832-7154
Date: Jan. 27, 2021
AUSTIN — In an effort to help put an end to human and labor trafficking, the Texas Department of Transportation Austin District expanded training for employees during a virtual event Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. The virtual training event kicked off with video messages from Governor Greg Abbott and TxDOT executive director James Bass.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. In 2017, a study released by the University of Texas estimated there were more than 300,000 human trafficking victims at any given time in Texas.
“This is happening around us and could happen to someone you know, a family member, a friend or others in your community,” said Bass. “We are on the front lines to help combat this. I want every TxDOT employee and transportation professional to know just how important they are.”
The training event marks the expansion of TxDOT’s “On the Road to End Human Trafficking” campaign, a statewide effort that began in 2019 to raise awareness, increase vigilance and report signs of this crime. In this awareness effort, TxDOT joins the Texas Governor’s Commission for Women, as well as other state and local partners.
“We want our employees, especially those traveling our highways as they fulfill their job responsibilities, to feel confident about recognizing the signs of a potential labor or human trafficking situation,” said Tucker Ferguson, TxDOT Austin district engineer.
In addition to educating employees about how to help eradicate this criminal activity, TxDOT is raising public awareness through signs in TxDOT’s Travel Information Centers and Safety Rest Areas across the state. To report suspected human trafficking, the public is encouraged to use a toll-free, 24/7 confidential phone number, (888) 373-7888. Victims are encouraged to call 911.
TxDOT’s human trafficking materials are available for download and use at TxDOT.gov.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, maritime, rail, and public transportation across the state. Through collaboration and leadership, we deliver a safe, reliable, and integrated transportation system that enables the movement of people and goods. Find out more at TxDOT.gov. "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.