Atlanta, Chicago, and Minneapolis have won the Pathways to Freedom human trafficking prevention challenge sponsored by the Partnership for Freedom. The program will now provide two years of support for three senior fellows in each city to develop citywide plans for preventing human trafficking and supporting survivors. The program aims to find comprehensive, innovative solutions to trafficking that go beyond standard law enforcement.
The fellows will report to the city’s mayor or another executive staff and will be tasked with creating new policies and building partnerships. Pathways to Freedom will also feature fellows’ work on a digital platform so other cities can learn from their progress and potentially implement similar programs.
Smart Cities Dive reports:
Traffickers often target vulnerable populations — such as low-income residents or immigrant populations — and take advantage of them.
This winners of this challenge showcase that, no matter how smart a city is, it is never fully immune to the dangers of trafficking. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lane Bottoms all released statements about the program, noting that their cities are committed to “tackling the root causes” of human trafficking and protecting vulnerable communities.
“Cities have a critical role to play in the fight against human trafficking and we are confident that the work of Atlanta, Chicago, and Minneapolis will inspire and encourage local solutions in other communities across the country,” said Catherine Chen, director of investments for Humanity United, in a statement.
Meanwhile, some industries are beginning to step up to fight human trafficking through their own initiatives. For example, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has posted signs in restrooms about the warning signs of human trafficking and asks the public to report suspicious behavior.
The American trucking industry has also helped increase reports of trafficking through Truckers Against Trafficking, a program that educates truck drivers across the country about the crime.