According to USA Today, About 8,000 Amtrak employees nationwide will be learning how to identify human trafficking victims and how to report potential crimes, officials announced today.
Amtrak employees from all of its service areas — 46 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada— will receive training using materials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “Transportation workers, including Amtrak police, train conductors, and ticket counter staff and others come into contact with thousands of people on a daily basis, making them well positioned to identify situations that don’t seem quite right.”
Ms. Napolitano also said that once the victims are identified her agency can prosecute traffickers and bring justice for those caught up in the system.
According to Ms. Napolitano, the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement initiated more than 700 human trafficking investigations that resulted in more than 900 arrests, 400 indictments and 270 convictions.
According to Joseph Boardman, president and CEO of the rail company, there has been no indication that Amtrak trains have been used for human trafficking.
“We don’t want to ignore that there is a problem going on and not be helpful,” he said, noting as part of the new initiative Amtrak managers will view online videos about trafficking and regularly scheduled crew briefings will include talks about trafficking victims.
According to Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, airplane employees receive similar training through the Blue Lightning Initiative launched in January.