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Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative

What's New

On January 28, 2020, Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced $5.4 million in grant selections as part of FTA's Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative at an event at U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters. Twenty-four organizations will receive funding for projects to help prevent human trafficking and other crimes on public transportation. 

In February 2020, FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams sent a letter to transit agency leaders to build awareness in the fight against human trafficking and increase support of the “100 Pledges in 100 Days” campaign.


Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery, with nearly 25 million victims worldwide, including in the United States. Traffickers use all modes of transportation to conduct their activities and often use public transit because it is low cost, offers greater anonymity in buying fare cards, and provides less direct interaction with government or transit officials.

FTA’s Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative is a public safety initiative that supports the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative through transit-focused industry engagement, education, public awareness and outreach, and research and technical assistance to combat human trafficking in transit.  In addition, the program supports FTA’s operator assault and crime prevention efforts. The initiative aims to maximize the transit industry’s collective impact to address human trafficking and other public safety concerns.

Funding Opportunities

Crime Prevention and Public Safety Awareness 

The Crime Prevention and Public Safety Awareness projects are funded through the Technical Assistance and Workforce Development Program with the goal of developing and disseminating technical assistance materials supporting public safety awareness campaigns addressing public safety in transit systems, including crime prevention, human trafficking, and operator assault.

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by a review team based on the following criteria: 1) ability to meet the goal of the Crime Prevention and Public Safety Awareness project; 2) qualifications of key personnel, experience and knowledge; 3) communication, technical assistance and outreach strategy; 4) research and demonstration capacity; and 5) management approach.

Innovations in Transit Public Safety 

The Innovations in Transit Public Safety projects are funded through the Public Transportation Innovation Program with the goal of developing innovative projects that assist transit agencies with identifying and adopting specific measures to address public safety in transit systems, including crime prevention, human trafficking, and operator assault. 

Selection Criteria

Each application for Innovations in Transit Public Safety must include a statement of purpose detailing: (1) the need being addressed; (2) the short- and long-term goals of the project, including opportunities for future innovation and development and benefits to riders of public transportation; (3) how the project will improve personal safety in public transit stations and vehicles; and (4) the short- term and long-term funding requirements to complete the project and any future objectives of the project.

The FTA will evaluate proposals submitted according to the following criteria: (a) demonstration of need; (b) demonstration of benefits; (c) coordination, planning and partnerships; (d) local financial commitment; (e) project readiness; and (f) technical, legal and financial capacity. The FTA encourages each applicant to demonstrate how a project supports all criteria with the most relevant information the applicant can provide, regardless of whether such information has been specifically requested or identified in this notice. 

U.S. DOT Campaigns

U.S. DOT combats human trafficking by working with public and private sector stakeholders to empower transportation employees and the traveling public to recognize and report possible instances of human trafficking.  

DOT's Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT) initiative was formed in 2012 for transportation and travel industry stakeholders to maximize the transportation industry collective impact on human trafficking.  TLAHT’s focus areas are leadership, training and education, policy development, public awareness, and information sharing and analysis.  Partners take action to combat human trafficking by issuing leadership statements, signing pledges, developing reporting protocols, training their employees, and conducting public awareness campaigns. 

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