Provided by Virginia Railway Express (VRE)
The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) has joined a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) effort to combat human trafficking. VRE becomes the second commuter railroad in the nation to participate in the Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative. During an event at USDOT headquarters, VRE Acting CEO Rich Dalton joined Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and committed VRE to this important initiative.
“Perpetrators of human trafficking often rely on transportation systems to move their victims, hiding their crimes in plain view,” said Dalton. “Our hope is that by joining other providers in the rail, bus, shipping and aviation sectors, we can collectively reduce these atrocities.”
USDOT estimates that as many as 25 million men, women and children worldwide are held against their will and forced into labor and prostitution.
100 Pledges in 100 Days
The event launched the Secretary’s “100 Pledges in 100 Days” challenge, designed to raise the number of transportation agencies, companies and associations participating in the program to more than 350. That increase will help “make the transportation sector a more effective force against the evil that is human trafficking,” said Chao. “The transportation sector is in a unique position to help save victims of human trafficking from unimaginable suffering, abuse and despair.”
VRE will use materials developed jointly by USDOT and the Department of Homeland Security to train both its staff and Keolis crew members, who work on board VRE trains, to spot common indicators of human trafficking and report suspected activity. The initiative includes an outreach component, which VRE will employ to increase awareness among passengers.
The 12th largest commuter rail service in the U.S., VRE is a transportation partnership of the Northern Virginia and the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commissions. VRE’s mission is to provide safe, cost effective, accessible, reliable, convenient, and customer responsive commuter-oriented passenger rail service. The 4.5 million rides the railroad provides annually remove some 100 million vehicle miles from Northern Virginia’s interstates. Learn more at www.vre.org.