Louisiana OMV Urges Motorists to Help Combat Human Trafficking
Published 11:39 am Thursday, February 3, 2022
The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) is partnering with federal and state agencies to educate motorists on recognizing the signs of human trafficking and how to respond to possible cases. OMV’s human trafficking awareness campaign features billboards across high-trafficked roadways in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, New Orleans, Shreveport and Slidell. The agency also will run informative commercials at gas station pump TVs urging drivers to utilize the anonymous and confidential National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888. Drivers can also text HELP or INFO to BEFREE (233733) if they suspect human trafficking. Posters, informational brochures, window decals and wallet cards will also be available to guests at select OMV field office locations.
“We are urging Louisiana drivers and all visitors traveling in our state to be aware of the indicators of human trafficking. There is no place in our world for this type of behavior and everyone plays an integral role,” stated OMV Commissioner Karen St. Germain. “If you suspect, speak! I am grateful for our federal partners, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, and state leaders like First Lady Donna Edwards who have been instrumental in their efforts to eliminate human trafficking.”
Motorists are the eyes and ears of Louisiana’s highways. All drivers should be aware of the signs of human trafficking. If you suspect human trafficking, remember as many details as possible and never approach traffickers. If you see a crime in progress, call 911 first. Then, call or text the trafficking hotline. Over 700 cases of human trafficking were reported in Louisiana in 2020. Victims can be of any age, race, gender or nationality.
Some questions to ask when considering whether someone may need help:
· Does the potential victim look fearful?
· Do they appear to be accompanied by a controlling individual?
· Are they restricted from speaking for themselves?
· Do they have “branding” tattoos?
· Do they avoid making eye contact?