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CRAA and COTA join forces in fight against human trafficking

Artistic representation of three figures composed of multiple people, symbolizing the unity of CRAA and COTA in combating human trafficking.

COLUMBUS, OH – In 2020, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA) and Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) joined the nationwide effort to end human trafficking by signing the Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking pledge.

On National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, January 11, both agencies are joining forces to continue the fight against human trafficking.

“We are committed to doing everything in our power to stop the flow of human trafficking that occurs throughout our country’s transportation system,” said Joseph R. Nardone, President & CEO of CRAA. “Together with our airport employees and airline partners, we are asking passengers to report suspected activity. It could save a life.”

“Human trafficking requires awareness and action,” said Joanna M. Pinkerton, COTA President/CEO. “It directly impacts individuals and families in central Ohio at alarming rates. We will always stand against anything that puts people at risk and continue to fight to protect them. We are committed to preparing our team to recognize and report suspected instances, raise public awareness, and hold the line that human trafficking will not be tolerated.”

Through signing the pledge, CRAA and COTA have committed to:

  • Educate employees and organizational members on how to recognize and report signs of human trafficking
  • Raise awareness among the traveling public on human trafficking issues by utilizing common messaging in targeted outreach campaigns
  • Measure collective impact on human trafficking by tracking and sharing key data points

Both agencies are sharing ways that members of the traveling public can recognize and report suspected human trafficking activity in airports and on buses.

If you notice any of the following indicators of human trafficking at John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH) or the Rickenbacker Passenger Terminal (LCK), please report your tip:

  • Someone not controlling their own ID or travel documents
  • Having restricted movement
  • Lacking knowledge or logical means of reaching final destination
  • Non-genuine relationship, particularly child/guardian

To report suspected human trafficking, call the Airport Communications Center at 614-239-4029.

Transit vehicles
COTA recognizes that Transit Centers and Transit Stops are often the first place a victim will make an attempt to obtain help. Operators have been trained to look out for customers who:

  • Avoid eye contact and refuse to socially interact with others
  • Have an appearance of being ill, physically abused or malnourished
  • Do not have identification, money, or any other personal possessions
  • Reply to questions in a rehearsed or scripted manner

To report suspected human trafficking you see on COTA transit or a COTA facility, contact 1-888-3737-888.

For more information, visit our safety page or

About COTA
The Central Ohio Transit Authority is the region’s mobility solutions provider, driven each day to connect people to prosperity through innovation, dedication and teamwork. By utilizing technology and data, establishing community partnerships and applying sustainability principles, COTA provides equitable access to jobs, healthcare and education.

About CRAA

The Columbus Regional Airport Authority connects Ohio with the world by managing and operating passenger-focused John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH), cargo-focused Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK), and general aviation airport Bolton Field (TZR). Columbus travelers have access to 53 nonstop destinations via CMH and LCK, more than ever before in airport history. Visit our destinations page to see where we’re flying and stay connected with CRAA online.

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