CATA and LPD collaborate to combat human trafficking
By Ashten Tucker, Assistant Marketing Manager
Community safety has always been a priority for CATA. Now, thanks to a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, CATA has partnered with the Lansing Police Department to combat human trafficking. 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.
Michigan ranks in the top 10 of all states for human trafficking, with nearly 300 cases reported in 2021.
According to Captain Rodney Anderson, who oversees Lansing Police Department’s human-trafficking mitigation efforts, the driving philosophy behind the CATA-LPD partnership to fight human trafficking is, “If you see something, say something.”
In most cases, this means calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888. The hotline is staffed by experts who can help evaluate the situation and recommend appropriate next steps. The service is available 24/7 and supports more than 200 different languages. Anderson noted, if a situation involves immediate danger to an individual, calling 9-1-1 is the recommended response.
To keep the most vulnerable members of the community safe, according to Anderson, it is everyone's responsibility to be observant and to report suspicious circumstances to the proper authorities.
As part of its partnership with CATA, LPD will incorporate key lessons about human trafficking into its educational outreach programs in area schools through the GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training) program. Specially trained officers lead school assemblies that teach youth about the warning signs of human trafficking and how they can take action to prevent it from happening to them or a loved one. Additionally, CATA and LPD will work closely with Lansing’s Refugee Development Center to ensure that vulnerable individuals who may experience language or cultural barriers don't become human trafficking victims.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign will also serve as a partner in the creation of informational and training documents. Blue Campaign is a national public-awareness initiative designed to educate the public, area law-enforcement agencies and industry partners.
Together, improving community safety and preventing the exploitation of the region’s most vulnerable citizens is a critical goal for all program partners.
This content has been published in the 2022 Community Report.
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