A Look At Ohio's Truckers Against Trafficking

Many people throughout the United States might not understand the real issue of sex trafficking and how it is actually more common than you would think. Truckers Against Trafficking is a nonprofit organization that has a mission of educating, equipping, empowering, and mobilizing members of the trucking and travel plaza industry to combat domestic sex trafficking. To do this, the organization aims to provide members of the trucking industry with training on how they might be able to recognize human trafficking while on the job. The state of Ohio recently announced that they would be the first state in the nation to implement mandatory Truckers Against Trafficking training for all CDL drivers.

 

Ohio truckers pave the way

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is working with Truckers Against Trafficking to provide training to all new drivers obtaining a CDL license. A training course one hour in length, with what drivers should look out for, will be provided to new hires. It was the hope that the new training would be made available as soon as possible, but it is looking like the state will enforce the new training come summertime. State troopers have been distributing educational materials about human trafficking to truck drivers since October of last year, in an effort to give drivers more information. This is important for drivers already on the road, as those who already have a CDL are not required to receive training.

 

Drivers trained on what to look for

Lt. William Bowers said that the training program is a great idea because the more eyes looking out, the better. The training will allow drivers to know what exactly to look for or if any clues can help lead to further investigations. Places like rest areas, plazas, and truckstops have been a popular place for human trafficking and prostitution. All of these locations are frequented often by truck drivers, so it makes sense to keep them up to date with the latest information that will keep them knowledgeable about signs of prostitution or individuals out of the ordinary. This training is especially important because those involved in human trafficking are not expecting to be tracked down by truck drivers. The Canton post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol remains highly active in the effort to keep truck drivers aware of human trafficking signals. Sgt. Eli Rivera of the Canton post said that drivers are asked to watch for activity where a person might be forced into selling themselves.

 

TAT helping save lives

Although many think of women and young girls when they think of human trafficking, boys can also be victims, which is something that is made known throughout training. Lt. Bill Menendez of the Columbus highway patrol said that fourteen is about the average age when girls are forced into human sex trafficking. In fact, Capt. Mike Crispen, also part of the Columbus highway patrol said that law enforcement was able to make a human trafficking arrest because of the help of one truck driver. After seeing two girls at a Wendy's being abducted, the truck driver immediately dialed 911, and officers were able to make it on time to rescue the girls.

It is the hope of many that this type of training program will be required for all new CDL drivers, throughout every state, so that human trafficking can be eliminated.