Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

MARTA raising employee awareness about human trafficking

If you see something suspicious, don't ignore it.

That is the message that MARTA's internal awareness campaign manager Leisha Kennedy has for employees when it comes to raising awareness about human trafficking. Kennedy presented statistics at a recent Planning & External Relations Committee meeting of the MARTA Board showing that between 400 and 500 young girls are sexually exploited on a monthly basis in Atlanta.

President Obama and Georgia lawmakers in 2012 directed federal agencies to increase anti-human trafficking efforts. The Department of Transportation urged transportation agencies to get involved, because transit workers are on the front lines of spotting these activities.

HB 141, a state law passed in 2013, requires certain employers or businesses (including MARTA and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport) to post signs to inform victims of a 24-hour toll-free hotline they can call to get help. If a business or agency affected by the law fails to post the signs, it can get up to a $5,000 fine per day.

MARTA is working to comply with the law by posting signs in rail stations and employee bathrooms, Kennedy said. In addition, the transit agency plans to post a human trafficking awareness video on its internal website for employees.

A spokesperson for the Atlanta airport also recently announced that airline and airport workers were being trained to spot signs of human trafficking.

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