CATA Partners With Lansing Police Department, Department of Homeland Security to Combat Human Trafficking
In partnership with Lansing Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security, the Capital Area Transportation Authority has launched its human trafficking awareness and prevention campaign. One of the key components of the campaign is the debut of the ELERTS See Say app, which invites members of the public to anonymously report safety concerns and suspicious activities, including suspected human trafficking in the Mid-Michigan region.
“Human trafficking is the exploitation of some of the most vulnerable members of our society,” said CATA Chief Executive Officer Bradley T. Funkhouser. “It is the world’s fastest-growing criminal enterprise, according to the Department of Justice, and no community is immune to it. Rider and employee safety remain a top priority at CATA, and the campaign message – coupled with the See Say App – will better arm customers, drivers and administrative staff at our transit facilities in our fight against this heinous crime. If we’re able to save even one individual from becoming a victim of human trafficking, it will have been well worth our investment and years-long efforts.”
In January 2020, CATA was awarded a $75,000 grant through the Federal Transit Administration’s Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative for a public transit safety campaign. Grant funds were also received from the Michigan Department of Transportation. The Lansing Police Department committed in-kind support for the initiative.
According to the Polaris Project, which works to disrupt and prevent human trafficking, Michigan is currently ranked seventh in the United States for human trafficking cases; Lansing is ranked in the top five cities in the state for calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the growing prevalence of human trafficking in the region and to provide information that can help prevent it. With guidance and ongoing support from the Lansing Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security, CATA is implementing the interactive-response protocol and a prevention-based awareness campaign across multiple platforms.
Rodney Anderson, Captain, Lansing Police Department, said, “The driving philosophy behind our partnership with CATA is, we recognize the need for community education and other protective factors like the ELERTS See Say App to provide critical safeguards to help community members identify risk and report concerns.”
Together, CATA, Lansing Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security are working closely with the Lansing School District and Lansing’s Refugee Development Center to provide resources that help educate our community about human trafficking and keep those who are targeted safe.
To learn more about the campaign, how to identity human trafficking and to download the See Say app, visit www.cata.org/humantrafficking.