In an effort to education Angelenos during Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, Metro Tuesday encouraged riders to be on the lookout for potential victims of human trafficking on public transit.
Officials said there hasn’t been widespread reports of human trafficking on the Metro system, but more people may be trafficked due to hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and victims are often transported on buses and trains in the U.S.
All 11,000 Metro employees are trained on how to report human trafficking and help victims who want to file a report. Metro also works with local law enforcement to monitor suspicious activities on public transit.
“Metro wants to prevent incidences of human trafficking on our system,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “We have made a commitment to protect our patrons and to address human trafficking on transit by training our employees and law enforcement contractors on how to identify and report human trafficking incidences.”
According to Metro officials, victims often appear fearful, depressed, anxious or tense, and they are often being watched closely. They likely won’t be in possession of any money and may show signs of physical abuse.
If a transit rider sees someone they believe may be a victim of human trafficking, they can call Metro security at 888-950-SAFE or text 213-788-2777. People can anonymously report suspicious activity through the L.A. Metro Transit Watch smart phone app.
“Bringing traffickers to justice and assisting trafficking survivors are the top priorities of LAPD human trafficking investigators,” Los Angeles Police Department Detective Supervisor Mario Gallegos said. “When investigating a crime as complex and as devastating as human trafficking, it is neither simple nor straightforward. These efforts are only effective with the support and assistance of our partners in Probation, Department of Children (and) Family Services and our advocate groups.”
Metro also works with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Long Beach Police Department, Metro security and private security to combat human trafficking on the transit system.
More information about efforts against human trafficking can be found at lacounty.gov/human-trafficking.