First Lady Cecilia Abbott, TxDOT join forces to raise awareness and dispel myths
AUSTIN — First Lady of Texas Cecilia Abbott has partnered with state agencies including the Texas Department of Transportation this month to raise awareness about human trafficking and help Texans learn how to combat the crime.
Victims of human trafficking come from across society, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status or hometown. Tackling the issue takes a variety of state agencies working together to raise awareness and provide educational opportunities on how to spot the signs and how to report trafficking activity.
“It is crucial that the State of Texas collaborates to raise awareness, increase our vigilance, and report signs of this horrendous crime,” said First Lady Abbott. “These victims are not invisible when we learn to look for the signs of suspected abuse, exploitation, and trafficking. Working together, we can all help to end this injustice.”
“TxDOT plays a critical role in this fight as traffickers utilize our infrastructure to commit this crime,” TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams said. “We’re training our employees to spot it in rural, suburban and urban communities across the state. It’s important that we all work together to look for the signs because it can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.”
TxDOT trains employees to identify instances of human trafficking, and as recently as October 2022, TxDOT staff at the Gainesville Travel Information Center assisted two people who identified themselves as victims of human trafficking. The victims had walked inside after running out of gas, and TxDOT staff connected them with law enforcement.
Through its Human Trafficking Work Group, TxDOT has also helped raise awareness through multiple education efforts. These include participating in #WearBlueDay on social media and in the office, creating and providing educational resources like flyers and wallet cards, listing common signs of trafficking, and how to report any suspicious activity while on or off the job through iWatchTexas.
Texas consistently has the second highest number of calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-373-7888) every year. TxDOT has 12,000 employees spread out across the state. With that many people working together, we can make a difference.
For media inquiries, contact TxDOT Media Relations at [email protected] or (512) 463-8700.