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Wear Blue to End Human Trafficking

January 11, 2024 12:00 AM
By: Zachary Appleby

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It is #WearBlueDay. Today, you can show your support for the victims of human trafficking by wearing blue in recognition of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day and learning the signs of trafficking to help end the practice. 

Human trafficking is a global crime that happens every day – even right here in Pennsylvania. In 2021, 1,080 calls and messages were received by the National Human Trafficking Hotline in Pennsylvania. Nationally, the hotline received more than 50,000 signals including calls, texts, and online chats.

Wherever there are roads, there is the potential for human trafficking. Traffickers use airports, trains, buses, rail stations, ports, and more as access points to scout for and move their victims. Catching these criminals while in transit is often one of the few opportunities to recognize and report traffickers before the victims disappear.

Whether you work in transit, law enforcement, retail, or are simply traveling, it’s important for everyone to know the signs of trafficking, because anyone can be a victim. 

Common signs of trafficking might include:
Lack of control over travel identification/documents;
No freedom of movement/social interaction;
Difficulty articulating reasonable/logical travel plans; and
Non-genuine relationship; particularly parent or guardian/child.

PennDOT is a national leader in working with the Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other government, non-governmental, law enforcement, and private organizations to make Pennsylvania a safer place and bring those who exploit human lives to justice. 

In 2023, PennDOT updated its End Human Trafficking course for all employees of the department. This course provides awareness on the subject of Human Trafficking and the various campaigns ran by organizations such as "Truckers Against Trafficking" and information on PA protection laws such as, Act 105, Act 130, Act 131 and Act 1. 

Our efforts have served as a model for other states and jurisdictions across the country. 

Additionally, last year, PennDOT unveiled a new campaign to ensure that everyone is aware of what to do when they spot human trafficking when it happens. Using window clings that will be displayed at 56 rest areas and Welcome Centers around the Commonwealth, we are training employees and the public to “know it and use it,” referring to the universal hand signal for help – a simple hand gesture where you curl your thumb into your palm and fold your fingers over it. A second window cling will remind the public to “see, call, save” – meaning that if they SEE human trafficking in Pennsylvania, they should CALL authorities and potentially help SAVE a life.

To learn more about PennDOT’s efforts, visit our human trafficking media center. You can also follow the @DHSBlueCampaign on Facebook, X, and Instagram for more information about #WearBlueDayPA and other educational efforts throughout the year.