Agencies to combat human trafficking
By Chloe Gregg
In order to increase safety measures for the community, and specifically to identify and prevent human trafficking cases, CATA transportation and the Lansing Police Department will be implementing an interactive-response protocol and prevention-based awareness campaign.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, “human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. This crime occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will.”
The newly implemented program is being supported and promoted by Lansing Community College, among other agencies.
Currently, Michigan ranks at sixth in the nation for the number of reported human trafficking cases. Lansing ranks number five for calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.
“CATA is looking to have a final review meeting for the campaign at the end of May or beginning of June,” LPD Captain Rodney Anderson said. “Once that happens, they will have a complete prospective timeline for the implementation of the app, ELERTS, as well as the associated campaign collateral for the ‘See, Say’ campaign offered through partnership with the Department of Homeland Security.”
These new protocols and campaign are meant to increase awareness on how human trafficking can be identified and what people can do to help, as well as using measurable steps to prevent human trafficking.
Some of these measurable steps include the release of the new ELERTS app, which will allow users to submit safety concerns and have a “Call 911” option for emergencies. There will also be more extensive employee training, and translated options for Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, Farsi and Korean speakers.
Sam Quon, the applications manager for information technology for the City of Lansing and adjunct faculty at LCC in geospatial science, said that for this phase of the project, LPD and CATA transportation are using geospatial science to identify where to target marketing campaigns.
“Geospatial science allows us to use data such as assets, transportation and demographic data to understand people, places and systems,” Quon said. “This technology allows us to map and analyze the data to provide additional insight, thus allowing decision makers to make better decisions.
“In future phases, the technology can assist in predicting where traffickers and victims are based on space and time.”
More information on this campaign will be released soon. For now, here is more information on human trafficking in the nation. The hotline for human trafficking is 1-888-373-7888 for calls and 233733 for texts.