MONROE COUNTY -- State officials say workers at PennDOT Driver License Centers will soon be trained to spot victims of human trafficking and call for help.
"I'm so happy about that, that they're taking a step up for this and they will be training some of their people who are front line to recognize some of the signs of human trafficking,” said Angelique Labadie-Cihanowyz.
She is an assistant pastor at Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church and runs Mission Possible: Help End Trafficking.
She says training PennDOT workers to spot signs of human trafficking victims is an important step.
"Anyone has the potential to encounter a human trafficking situation. It literally is hidden right in plain sight, right in front of us."
In addition to training its staff, PennDOT will be handing out wallet cards to anyone who has a commercial driver’s license or someone applying for a commercial driver’s license, with tips to spot trafficking victims and how to contact law enforcement.
"We're on the road, you know? We travel 100 plus miles a year and we see a lot and it's really good for the truck drivers to keep an eye out for that. Because one, we're up higher so we can see down into vehicles and see situations in rest areas and things that may not be all on the up and up,” said Gene Sly, a truck driver who regularly travels through Pennsylvania.
PennDOT transit directors have already been trained.
All staff should be trained by this summer.
"I'm hoping that people will be flagged that people can have help from this and our communities will be safer as a result of this,” said Labadie-Cihanowyz.
People who appear to be under the control of someone else (have no freedom of movement), don’t have control of their own records and identification and who show signs of physical abuse may be victims of human trafficking.