LOUISVILLE, Ky. — United Way is piloting new anti-human trafficking efforts in Louisville, one of only four participating cities.

What You Need To Know

  • United Way to pilot anti-human trafficking initiative in Louisville

  • Louisville is one of four cities to participate

  • In Louisville, initiative will focus on child abuse, neglect

  • Initiative will last two years

The efforts are in collaboration with UPS, which provided a $3 million fund collected by UPS employees who provided charitable contributions as part of the organization's giving program. 

Within Louisville, the program will specifically focus on the intersection of child abuse and neglect, identified by the city's Metro United Way. The United Way Center on Human Trafficking and Slavery will oversee the two-year pilot.

“Our participation in the pilot program will bring increased awareness to the problem we have locally and provide valuable insights for tackling the issue nationwide,” said Theresa Reno Weber, president and CEO of Metro United Way. “The COVID-19 crisis only exacerbates the human trafficking problem, creating unemployment, food and housing insecurity, which in turn make potential victims more susceptible to exploitation.”

The program convenes a variety of community leaders around the issue of fighting local human trafficking. The collaboration will identify needs and gaps within each community, such as housing, services, training and policy.

“Together, we're working to mobilize a collaborative effort across sectors, building public and political will needed to spur greater action to end human trafficking in our generation,” said Brian Gallagher, United Way Worldwide president and CEO. “We’re proud to partner with UPS on this critical effort. But there is so much more to do.” 

This isn't UPS's first time tackling the issue of human trafficking. This new initiative builds on UPS's existing partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking which trains UPS drivers to spot the signs of trafficking and report them to appropriate authorities.

“Our goal is to make sure every UPS driver in the U.S. has the knowledge needed to spot and report on signs of trafficking,” said George Willis, president of UPS U.S. Operations. “We know that reliable tips to law enforcement are critical to making arrests and rescuing victims,” Willis continued. UPS’s new Brakes on Trafficking Steering Committee, led by Willis and comprised of leaders from across the organization, will help strengthen the company’s strategic approach to ending human trafficking.

Aside from Louisville, this approach is also being piloted in Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Brownsville, Texas.