This year, BEST rolled out training for Sound Transit to help their employees identify victims of human trafficking, aiding vulnerable people in need who commonly use public transportation. One in three survivors reported using public transportation while being exploited or while attempting to escape their trafficker.
A recent example was when a 16-year -old victim of sex trafficking was found at a local bus station. The teen girl was waiting at the station when a Sound Transit security officer on patrol noticed she was in distress and stepped in to ask if she was OK. The girl disclosed her dire situation and explained that her trafficker was on his way to pick her up. The girl was connected to services, and with help of local police, the suspected trafficker was taken into custody.
This past year, BEST developed training specifically for security officers. This valuable training will help Sound Transit employees learn how to identify more victims, like this teen, so they can be connected to the services they need to escape their traffickers. In 2021, Sound Transit is committing to train their employees to be able to identify trafficking victims. This includes employees on buses, Link light rail and Sounder trains, which will dramatically increase the number of eyes and ears watching for human trafficking throughout the Puget Sound Region. This will help more victims find the safety they desperately need.