On Tuesday, January 28, Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell R. McMurry joined U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp and leaders from Congress, state government and the transportation sector to announce new initiatives to combat human trafficking on our nation’s transportation system. The event, hosted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, focused on combating human trafficking in transportation through workforce training and grant funding opportunities.

“The U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to working with our public and private partners to fight human trafficking on America’s transportation system,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Among the initiatives announced by Secretary Chao is a renewed focus on the “Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking” pledge to train the transportation workforce and raise public awareness on the issue of human trafficking across all modes of transportation.  Secretary Chao is challenging the transportation industry to commit to “100 Pledges in 100 Days.” The U.S. DOT anticipates over 1 million employees across all modes of transportation will be trained because of this initiative. Georgia DOT has signed the pledge, signaling the Department’s intention to do its part to combat human trafficking in Georgia through employee training, efforts to build awareness both internally and externally and urging the public to report any and all suspected incidences of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, affecting millions of adults and children in the United States and worldwide. It affects all regions of Georgia – urban, suburban and rural. Victims are of every age, race, gender, background, citizenship, and immigration status. Some are trafficked within their own communities on various forms of transportation, while others are transported to new locations.

Georgia DOT’s efforts to combat human trafficking in Georgia follow the lead of Governor Brian P. Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp. In February 2019, Governor Kemp signed an executive order establishing the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education (GRACE) Commission. The Commission is comprised of public officials, law enforcement, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, faith-based institutions and subject matter experts, this nationally-recognized commission is actively working to end human trafficking in our state.
 
This month, Georgia’s First Lady Kemp and the GRACE Commission, in collaboration with the Department of Administrative Services, announced the implementation of Human Trafficking Awareness Training for State of Georgia employees.
 
This is not the first time Georgia DOT has taken steps to combat human trafficking. Prior to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta in 2019, Georgia DOT joined with the Office of Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and a consortium of private sector and nonprofit organizations to produce a high-visibility event called ‘Stop Traffick,’ a rolling exhibit comprised of 72 school buses emblazoned with astounding and disturbing statistics to create awareness and help put an end to human trafficking in our state and across the country.
 
“As public servants, we at Georgia DOT are uniquely positioned to protect the well-being of all Georgians – in fact, our goals include “Putting Georgians’ Safety First,” said McMurry. “Through proper education and awareness, we can learn the signs of human trafficking, how to report suspicious activity, and do our part to dismantle this terrible industry for good in collaboration with our outstanding partners.”
 
Georgia Department of Transportation plans, constructs and maintains Georgia’s state and federal highways. We’re involved in bridge, waterway, public transit, rail, general aviation, bike and pedestrian programs. And we help local governments maintain their roads. Georgia DOT and its nearly 4,000 employees are committed to delivering a transportation system focused on innovation, safety, sustainability and mobility. The Department’s vision is to boost Georgia’s competitiveness through leadership in transportation.