Human trafficking exists whenever men, women or children are bought and sold often for forced labor or commercial sex. Around the world, there are an estimated 21 million people trafficked, accounting for $150 billion in profits. Human trafficking has surpassed the illegal sales of arms and will surpass the sale of drugs in the next few years.
Up to 300,000 Americans under age 18 are lured into the commercial sex trade every year. An estimated one in six runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as missing were likely to be victims of sex trafficking.
With the recent human trafficking incident in Texas where ten people were found dead in the back of a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, the issue has become a stark reminder of why human smuggling networks must be brought to justice.
Senate Committee Approves Bills on Human Trafficking
Lawmakers have been working to address the rapidly growing human rights crisis, as an increasing number of Americans (especially women and children) are being forced into prostitution, child labor and pornography. The lawmakers feel the transportation industry is well-positioned to help identify potential victims, since traffickers use the country’s transportation networks to move their prey around.
The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee recently approved two bipartisan bills that will play a huge role in helping to curtail human trafficking.
The first bill (S.1532) sponsored by Senator John Thune, “No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act”, would disqualify any individual from operating a commercial motor vehicle for life if they use a CMV to commit a felony involving human trafficking.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has come out against the bill, saying that it unfairly singles out truckers. OOIDA supports efforts to combat human trafficking and is a supporter of Truckers Against Trafficking.
The second bill (S.1536) sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar, “Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act” would designate a human trafficking prevention coordinator and would expand the scope of activities authorized under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s outreach and education program to include human trafficking prevention activities.
Both bills have been placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar for further consideration.
States Step Up Their Efforts to Support the Fight
Ohio recently enacted legislation in July that requires that commercial truck drivers are trained to spot signs of sex trafficking and the process to report it. The Arkansas House approved a bill that would require all drivers wanting to obtain or renew a Class A CDL to take a course aimed at preventing human trafficking. Kansas, Kentucky, Texas and Washington are also considering similar bills. Kentucky’s bill goes a step further and would make it a crime for licensed truckers to use their rigs to facilitate trafficking, engage in prostitution or transport minors.
How Can You Help
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), a national non-profit organization that exists to educate, equip, empower, and mobilize the trucking industry to combat human trafficking as part of their regular jobs recognizes that members of the trucking industry and individual truckers are invaluable in the fight against this crime. As the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways, truckers are in a unique position to make a difference and close loopholes to traffickers.
According to the TAT, 972 victims have been recovered by truckers’ calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The hotline is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the U.S., 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in more than 200 languages.
- Contact Truckers Against Trafficking for training materials
- Administer awareness training to all of your employees, at all levels within your organization
- Consider adding a mission and commitment to the cause as part of your onboarding process
- Give your drivers a wallet card with the National Hotline Number
- Use your influence in the trucking industry to tell others about TAT
- Let TAT know when a call into the hotline was made and how it turned out. You could become the recipient of the Harriet Tubman Award
National Hotline – Make the Call, Save Lives – 1-888-3737-888. Contact Truckers Against Trafficking for additional information.
Register for Human Trafficking Webinar
On September 21, 2017 HireRight is hosting a new webinar on Prevention & Intervention: Combating Human Trafficking through the Trucking Industry.
Topics to be covered in this webinar include:
- Basic Human Trafficking 101
- Intersections between the trucking industry and the crime of human trafficking
- Truckers Against Trafficking introduction, their mission and how they empower the trucking industry to combat crime
- Review of case studies on how individuals within the industry have helped to recover victims and put traffickers behind bars
- Overview of free training program that employers can use to train their drivers