L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Don Knabe was joined by several local officials to launch Metro's new "Don't Be Silent" campaign. Photo: Luis Inzunza/Metro
Los Angeles County Supervisor and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board Member Don Knabe, Metro CEO Phil Washington, L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell and advocacy group Peace Over Violence joined together to ask the public to speak out against human sex trafficking and to reiterate their collective efforts to crack down on the demand-side of the illicit child sex trafficking industry, as well as announce the launch of an updated countywide Metro and billboard awareness campaign.
“This new campaign is another great example of government and the private sector coming together to raise the public profile on a heinous crime affecting our most vulnerable children,” said Knabe. “Along with training thousands of Metro bus and rail operators and other employees, we are educating residents countywide — many of whom travel daily routes through the main trafficking hubs — to be aware of a child who may be a victim and is in need of rescue.”
Metro’s updated campaign includes 3,000 ads placed on buses and railcars across L.A. County. In addition, 85,000 brochures containing resources on how to help victims of human trafficking will be placed in Metro’s customer centers, stations, buses and trains. All ads and brochures contain a QR code that directs to the L.A. Transit Watch mobile app, a free app which allows anyone to report suspicious activity safely and anonymously.
Metro also is currently in the process of training all 10,000 employees, beginning with all frontline personnel, bus and train operators, maintenance and custodial personnel, on the devastating impact of human sex trafficking and how to report suspected crime and help victims who want to make a report.
Thanks to a generous donation by Clear Channel Outdoor, OUTFRONT Media and Lamar Advertising, Metro’s campaign material also will be shared on traditional and digital billboards across L.A. County this summer.
The campaign supports three “War on Child Sex Trafficking” laws passed in 2014: SB 1388, which increased fines and penalties for anyone convicted of pimping or purchasing a minor; SB 955, which added human trafficking to a list of offenses that will allow the use of wiretapping; and SB 939, which allows victims to testify against their traffickers in just one courtroom, rather than facing their exploiter in multiple jurisdictions.