• Human Trafficking in Transit – What Can You Do?


    Human trafficking is a widespread problem and the second largest criminal activity in the world. Human trafficking refers to the exploitation of human beings for the purposes of commercial sex or forced labor where the trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion to make money off a victim. 

    While trafficking can happen anywhere, traffickers often use public transit to transport their victims. A 2018 survey of human trafficking survivors conducted by the Polaris Project revealed that 42% of surveyed victims in the United States were trafficked using local or long-distance buses. Research shows that train stations, bus stops and other facilities are key locations that criminals use to recruit, meet, or transport victims. However, transit facilities also provide an opportunity for human trafficking victims to escape. 

    To combat this serious problem, the N.C. Department of Transportation is working with its federal, state, and local partners on an educational campaign aimed at teaching transit drivers, travelers, and others how to properly identify and handle suspected cases of human trafficking. By recognizing the signs of human trafficking, travelers and transit employees can discreetly alert authorities, who can take action to address the problem.​


  • Recognize and Respond

    ​To combat human trafficking, you must first be able to identify it. Listed below are a few red flags that may suggest trafficking is occurring in a public transit system:

    • Passenger(s) who cannot speak for themselves

    • Passenger(s) whose tickets and ID documents are being controlled by another person

    • Passenger(s) who do not know the person who purchased the ticket for them

    • ​Offers of sex in exchange for money or other goods and services

    If you observe these or other suspicious behaviors outlined in the training below, please call or text the human trafficking hotline number:

    ​Call 1-888-373-7888, or
    Text 233733 (Befree)

    There is no penalty for being wrong, and you may remain anonymous if you would like. You should never attempt to approach the suspected trafficker; this may further endanger both the potential victim(s) and yourself. If the victim appears to be in clear and immediate danger, please call 911.​

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