Last week, U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., announced the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $100,240 to the Hillsborough Area Transit Authority (HART) as part of its Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative.
“This funding supports transit agencies with identifying and adopting specific measures to address public safety in transit systems, including crime prevention, human trafficking, and operator assault,” Spano’s office noted.
Spano noted that human trafficking is an increasing problem in the Sunshine State including in his Central Florida district.
“Just last week, local law enforcement announced the arrest of five human traffickers. This evil is happening in our own backyard and we must pull together to protect our neighborhoods and children. As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, I am proud to support the efforts of HART to educate its patrons and keep our communities safe,” said Spano.
“The funding is well-timed and will support HART’s public awareness efforts about human trafficking in the months leading up to the Super Bowl LV to be held here in Tampa, Florida in February 2021. HART’s efforts will include educational materials for the public and provide critical training for employees in recognizing and reporting human trafficking,” said Carolyn House Stewart, HART’s interim Chief Executive Officer.
Spano noted that Tampa will host Super Bowl LV next year which is expected to see a rise in human trafficking around the area. The Republican congressman is working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to raise public awareness of human trafficking.
“According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Florida ranks third in the United States in reported human trafficking cases and the Super Bowl is one of the largest events human traffickers target. HART’s funding will specifically go towards their human trafficking public awareness campaign in the months leading up to the game,” Spano’s office noted.
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