PHOENIX – Those visiting Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division offices on Friday, Jan. 11, will see employees wearing blue in recognition of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. On vehicles driven by officers with ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division, motorists will see bumper stickers pointing to help for human trafficking victims.
Whether it’s encouraging MVD’s 850 office employees to participate in #WearBlueDay or having K-9 units on the lookout for human trafficking victims at commercial ports of entry, ADOT works throughout the year to help combat this increasingly urgent problem.
At ports of entry next to California and New Mexico, ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance division has K-9 units trained to identify not only evidence of illegal drugs but human cargo that can include victims of human trafficking. Lieutenants overseeing these ports are trained to identify warning signs of human trafficking, such as unusual tattoos, an unwillingness to speak and carrying large amounts of cash without explanation.
“ADOT is taking a comprehensive approach to help end this horrible practice in Arizona,” said ADOT Enforcement Services Bureau Chief Gary McCarthy, who chairs the Arizona Human Trafficking Council’s Outreach and Awareness Committee. “This is a real problem with real victims.”
Dozens of vehicles driven by Enforcement and Compliance Division officers have bumper stickers encouraging those who need help or who see signs of trouble to visit EndSexTrafficking.AZ.gov or call 888.373.7888, resources offered through the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family.
This year, more ADOT officers will receive training on human trafficking, including where the demand comes from and what cases look like. The Enforcement and Compliance Division is developing online training so ADOT employees who work along highways will be ready to spot the signs of human trafficking.