The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) received a $350,000 federal grant today to help combat human trafficking in Santa Clara County.
The grant will allow VTA to launch the new “Not on Transit” (NoT) project, conducting training for employees and creating awareness among passengers and the public to recognize and report human trafficking activities on transit. VTA will implement this project in collaboration with the Mineta Transportation Institute and the Santa Clara County Office of Women’s Policy.
VTA General Manager and CEO Nuria Fernandez received news of the grant today in Washington, D.C., from U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao as part of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative. The funds were part of an overall $5.4 million being dispersed to 24 transit agencies across the nation.
“VTA is honored to receive the trust and confidence from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help reemphasize our commitment to combatting human trafficking in our community,” said Fernandez.
Goals of the NoT project include enhancing community sensitivity and awareness of human trafficking through outreach and education, videos to be shown on transit vehicles, and the use of mobile application features to create discreet and safe tools for passengers and the public to report suspected human trafficking activity.
“VTA has demonstrated its ongoing commitment to ensuring that public transit access is safe for everyone, and its commitment to educating our community on how to prevent and end human trafficking,” said Protima Pandey, Director of the Santa Clara County Office of Women’s Policy.
VTA is committed to helping keep our community safe. During the month of January, Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we’re reminding the public that the agency’s 2100 employees are engaged in the effort to stop this crime, having been trained to recognize the signs and seek help.
"The Mineta Transportation Institute is thrilled to work with the VTA and the Office of Women's Policy on this critical initiative," said Dr. Karen Philbrick, Executive Director of the Institute. "Together we will identify best practices for how we keep our communities safe from this unspeakable crime that is human trafficking."