LA DOTD participates in a national panel with state and federal executives on human trafficking
Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 5:18:39 PM

LA DOTD participates in a national panel with state and federal executives on human trafficking

USDOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced yesterday a series of efforts to combat human trafficking within the transportation sector. She announced a renewed focus on the “Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking” pledge to train the transportation workforce and raise public awareness. She is challenging the transportation industry to commit to “100 Pledges in 100 Days” and anticipates over one million transportation employees will be trained, thanks to this initiative.

Because of Louisiana’s legislative accomplishments and focus on putting a stop to human trafficking, Louisiana was represented on this national panel by Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Shawn Wilson, Ph.D. Sec. Wilson, along with executives from the Texas and Georgia departments of transportation, were in Washington, DC, on Tuesday to participate in a USDOT panel to discuss ways to end this ongoing problem, with an effort to fight human trafficking in the transportation industry.

Transportation leaders from all modes convene at USDOT, pictured here holding their pledge to work to end human trafficking.

“We know that Louisiana has two of the worst corridors for human trafficking, Interstates 10 and 20, which is a big part of why this issue hits so close to home for us,” said First Lady Donna Edwards. “It impacts every sector of society. Fortunately, law enforcement is getting better at recognizing potential victims, and we have some of the toughest laws in the country when it comes to punishing the perpetrators. It’s going to take all of us getting involved, and my husband, Gov. John Bel Edwards, and I are grateful to Sec. Wilson for raising awareness and pledging more help to bring an end to this terrible crime.”

“Human trafficking continues to be a serious concern within the transportation system,” said Sec. Wilson. “Governor and First Lady Edwards are passionate about fighting this problem and raising public awareness of it. This is not a new issue for Louisiana and warrants all of our attention.”

Louisiana’s strong anti-trafficking laws are due to the passage of bipartisan legislation, including raising the threshold for children who qualify as underage victims of sex trafficking from 18 to 21. Given the role of DOTD in building, maintaining, and operating multiple large-scale transportation systems, we are well-positioned to make an immediate and widespread impact towards combating human trafficking. One of the most powerful resources available is our human capital. When employees are educated and trained on preventing human trafficking, they function as not only frontline deterrents, but also as multipliers by helping to spread awareness to the general public.

DOTD currently provides public information on those seeking assistance, including variable message signs and flyers at rest areas across the state. In addition, employee training will become a higher priority, and DOTD will take further steps in engaging transportation leaders from across variable modes of transportation to join us in this effort to curb human trafficking.

If you or somebody you know is a victim of human trafficking, call the confidential National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 (TTY: 711) or text 233733. The website is For more information about the USDOT’s efforts in fighting this issue, please visit To learn more about human trafficking in Louisiana, including statistics, visit