We’ve written about human trafficking in the past. But this issue is an important one. And there are exciting updates in the fight against human trafficking in 2017 as more states pass legislation targeted at enlisting more commercial drivers to help.
Human trafficking tends to happen around travel hubs. Because of this, truck drivers are in a unique position to help the victims of this form of slavery.
According to Kylla Lanier of Truckers Against Trafficking, “Trafficking happens everywhere. It’s happening in homes, in conference centers, at schools, casinos, truck stops, hotels, motels, everywhere. You know, it’s an everywhere problem, but truckers happen to be everywhere.”
Truckers Against Trafficking
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a nonprofit organization. Founded in 2009, it trains truck drivers to recognize and report human trafficking.
The group estimates that there are over 40 million trafficking victims today. And law enforcement has received reports of this terrible crime in all 50 states.
TAT partners with trucking schools, carriers, shippers, manufacturers, and trucking associations. It also offers training tools via speaking programs, social media, and videos.
And TAT’s efforts are having an impact.
The group’s awareness programs have reached nearly 250,000 drivers. Even better, calls to their hotline have freed hundreds of trafficking victims.
A truck driver who had undergone TAT training saw suspicious activity at a truck stop and called 9-1-1. The tip led to the rescue of nine victims. And it also led to the conviction of 31 traffickers operating across 13 states.
More States Joining The Fight
In May, Texas governor Greg Abbott signed a law making it compulsory for anyone looking to get a CDL (commercial driver’s license) to complete a human trafficking awareness course. “I think any help that law enforcement gets in terms of tips that they can follow … that’s great for everybody,” said Texas senator Sylvia Garcia.
On July 31, Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson signed a law requiring Class-A drivers to complete a course teaching them how to recognize and report the signs of human trafficking.
Ohio also requires anyone going through one of the state’s professional truck-driving programs to complete human trafficking training.
And Kansas also signed a law calling on more truck drivers to help. As of July 1, 2018, truck drivers in that state must have certification showing they have completed an online training course in human trafficking identification and prevention. The training is required for anyone either receiving a new CDL or renewing one.
Human trafficking is a crime that’s difficult to stop. Traffickers work largely out of public view. And they target the most vulnerable in our society, using coercion and violence to keep them silent. But it’s good to know there are so many extra sets of eyes and ears on our roads, and that their efforts are making such a big difference.
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