Continues ODOT’s efforts to fight human trafficking in Ohio
COLUMBUS – Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Jack Marchbanks announced today the department has been designated by Governor Mike DeWine to participate in the Ohio Governor’s Human Trafficking Task Force.
“Human trafficking is a despicable activity and every attempt to combat it should be employed,” said Director Marchbanks. “The thousands of ODOT employees that work on the state’s roads and bridges everyday are a valuable asset in fighting this evil. I am proud that ODOT can be part of this effort.”
ODOT has been working with state partners to raise awareness about human trafficking. The agency has provided information on how to get help in its rest area facilities. ODOT also includes information on recognizing and reporting human trafficking in the 350,000 oversize/overweight special hauling permits it issues annually to truckers driving through Ohio and in private plane registration packets mailed to private plane owners.
Most importantly, ODOT provides trafficking awareness training to all new hires and is developing specialized training for field employees that have the highest opportunity to encounter traffickers and victims. Utilizing state employees in the field to recognize and report potential human trafficking offenders and victims will help increase the ability of law enforcement to find perpetrators and rescue victims.
The Executive Order 2021-2D signed by the Governor that will enhance Ohio’s work to respond to and prevent human trafficking adds four other agencies in addition to ODOT to the task force including:
- Ohio Department of Commerce
- Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities
- Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
- State Medical Board of Ohio
The task force, established in 2012, is a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services.
January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, help is available by calling the national human trafficking hotline (888-373-7888) or by texting INFO or HELP to 233733 (BeFree).