MCTS Creates Human Trafficking Campaign for Bus Operators and Bus Riders to Identify Victims

Target Audience: MCTS attended seminars about human trafficking and learned that while it's a global enterprise, it has deep roots in communities. MCTS launched our own campaign locally to train drivers and inform passengers to recognize the victims of human trafficking. These victims are not what drivers are familiar with or can easily recognize because the victims differ from those of domestic violence or child abuse and are therefore more difficult to spot. The primary audience was the 800 MCTS bus operators, ages 25-55. The second target audience included the millions of MCTS passengers, ages 18-55, who might not realize the stereotypes they hold about victims of human trafficking.

Strategy Objective:The strategy was to improve the safety of the community by educating both drivers and the community to recognize that anyone can be a victim of human trafficking. The objective was to raise awareness that there is no stereotype for human trafficking and that it can be anyone of any age and any ethnic background. To recognize human trafficking involves knowing the subtle signs of who might be a victim. The creative blended the faces of several people from many backgrounds and included many images of victims across demographics. Through posters on board buses, art on shelters, and bus operator training, and a partnership with Vector Media, MCTS was able to educate the transit community on a shoestring budget that the victim is not a Hollywood stereotype but someone who looks like one of us.

Situation Challenge: Wisconsin is among the top states for human trafficking yet despite intensive research across local law enforcement agencies and nonprofits, MCTS could not find bus driver training that addressed the misconceptions about who the victims truly are. Anyone can be a victim: male, female, transgender, young, old, Black, White, Hispanic or any other racial or ethnic background. MCTS set out to change these misconceptions through an education campaign for drivers and the community. The art was developed by MCTS's internal graphic designer. The only costs were internal copy costs for the driver training guide, because the on bus and bus shelter ads were donated by our media partner, Vector Media.

Results Impact: MCTS created an interior bus ad, a bus shelter poster (84x48) and an internal booklet to train operators. In total, the cost was picked up by a partner, Vector Media. According to MCTS's Training Dept., the human trafficking training helps bus operators to recognize when someone is in danger. Of those, 100 new operators received training directly while 700 have access to the newly created info packet on how to recognize victims of human trafficking. In total, about 12 calls were made since the training, by operators who called the police when a situation seemed to involve a possible domestic violence or trafficking incident. Since the training manual was introduced, it is now an ongoing part of new bus operator training on how to recognize potential victims of human trafficking.

Why Submit: This entry should win an award because we did not use grant money or materials that were already developed. MCTS researched best practices from a range of human trafficking campaigns to develop its unique materials, local to Milwaukee. In addition, the MCTS marketing team met with local anti-human trafficking groups and domestic abuse shelters for guidance. Our bus operators appreciate the training and have put their new skills to use. Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking – and drivers have a front row seat to recognize and prevent trafficking, keeping the community safe.