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MnDOT to post human trafficking awareness messages at state rest areas

ST. PAUL, Minn. —The Minnesota Department of Transportation will begin installing posters in 41 rest areas across the state this week to educate the traveling public about human trafficking and to encourage them to report suspicious activity. The posters include guidelines on how to recognize signs of human trafficking and potential victims and a toll-free hotline to report any suspicious activity.

Human trafficking often involves travel, including the transport of victims from a base of operations to locations of exploitation.

"According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Twin Cities is one of the 13 U.S. cities with a particularly high rate of child prostitution, and Minnesota has the third highest number of human trafficking cases in the nation," said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. "MnDOT's responsibility for maintaining the quality and safety of multiple modes of transportation, including highways, airports, rail lines, transit systems and commercial vehicles, provides unique opportunities to see—and stop—human trafficking activities.."

Zelle, on behalf of MnDOT's nearly 5,000 employees, signed a pledge in January 2017 to join Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking and make fighting human trafficking a MnDOT priority by developing and sharing resources to inform and empower MnDOT employees as well as the traveling public. Nearly 20 million travelers visit Minnesota rest areas each year.

To learn more about MnDOT's human trafficking awareness initiative, request training or download posters, visit MnDOT's website at: mndot.state.mn.us/humantraffickingawareness/index.html.

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