In early 2018, a bill was passed appointing a representative from the Department of Transportation to spearhead human trafficking prevention efforts across the country.
Since then, the DOT has been working closely with nonprofit organization Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) to develop long-term programs and mobilize the industry as a whole for the cause. The DOT-led committee held its first meeting in Dec. 2018 and brought together members of TAT and law enforcement agencies to discuss best practices and tactical strategies to help truckers become more informed and responsible on the road.
Because of the frequent routes and stops a driver makes during their time on the road, they are excellent resources to help inform and take action against human trafficking. The sad truth of the matter is that truck stops, rest areas, and other remote areas are often areas of sex trafficking because there isn’t anything else around – and because of the predominantly male leaning of the trucking industry in general.
The creation of the DOT committee and growing education in the space have led to new laws being passed in multiple states requiring CDL drivers to take human trafficking safety courses and training sessions to help them recognize the signs of illegal activity on the road. The DOT and other agencies are realizing the strength of the CDL driving force to be eyes and ears on the roads of America to help stop the illegal transport of people.
According to the Truckers Against Trafficking website:
Over 2,000 calls have been made to the National Sex Trafficking Hotline by truckers alone
Identified cases from truckers have involved more than 1,000 trafficking victims
In 2017, 48.5% of human trafficking cases identified by truckers involved minors
More than 680,000 people have been trained with TAT training resources
The trucking industry is not alone in its renewed focus on taking steps to stop human trafficking. Airlines, hotels, and other service industries are all doubling down on education, training, and resources to turn everyday employees into potential informants – and heroes. Human trafficking is still a huge issue across America, with more than 10,000 people contacting the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2017 alone. For CDL drivers, being on the roads and knowing the country unlike anyone else can help identify suspicious activity and help make a serious impact in the lives of these people.
As the trucking industry continues its long-term ‘re-brand’ into a more inclusive, welcoming industry, this is one more way truckers and carriers can go out of their way to showcase how the industry is changing. CDL trucking is no longer an old man’s club. The steady growth of female drivers, as well as younger generations, is changing the way the trucking industry is viewed by and engages with the world around it. Taking an active stance against human trafficking – and branding your company as one that is actively involved in this cause – will help boost your brand reputation and make it easier to recruit drivers looking for a cause-focused organization.
Want to learn more? Visit the Truckers Against Trafficking website to see how you can become involved.