DENVER — The Colorado Association of Transit Agencies (CASTA) is urging Colorado travelers and transit professionals to be aware of signs of human trafficking on the road.
CASTA and multiple anti-trafficking and law enforcement agencies gathered Tuesday to confront the issue of human trafficking in Colorado and to improve training among law enforcement, transit and trucking industries.
"Traffickers use all modes of transportation to conduct their activities and often use public transit because it is low cost, offers greater anonymity in buying fare cards, and provides less direct interaction with government or transit officials," according to the Federal Transit Administration.
"I think bus stops and other facilities have been used in the past to recruit victims. Transit and trucking have also been used to move victims from place to place," said Ann Rajewski, executive director of CASTA.
According to the U.S. Department of State, there are nearly 25 million trafficking victims worldwide at any given time.
Truckers Against Trafficking said prevention starts with knowing the red flags, including someone who:
- Goes from vehicle to vehicle at a truck stop
- Defers to another person to speak for them, appears to be coached on what to say, or their responses seem rehearsed.
- Appears to be traveling with few or no personal items, such as no purse or wallet.
"Maybe someone that is dressed inappropriately for the weather," said Louie Greek, a coalition build specialist for Truckers Against Trafficking.
Travelers and most transit professionals are encouraged to not confront the victims. Instead, you should write down a license plate number or other identifying information and contact authorities.
"If these drivers can be aware and alert of those particular red flags, then they can again be able to identify this crime taking place," said Greek.
Victims of human trafficking can get help by contacting the Colorado Human Trafficking Hotline by phone at 1-866-455-5075 or text at 720-999-9724. You can also contact local authorities. Covered Colorado has resources for human trafficking victims and survivors in Colorado.