Government trucking sector regulator The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has launched a campaign to educate workers in the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) industry to help prevent human trafficking.
The “Your Roads, Their Freedom” initiative addresses a “horrible crime” that occurs in every state and uses the nation’s transportation system to recruit and move victims. But FMCSA says that America’s 8.7-million-strong CMV workforce is in a unique position to make a difference, once they’re empowered with the information needed to identify and report those crimes.
The agency says its program is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT) awareness campaign, and is
designed to amplify a single theme: “By working together, we can make our roadways safer, save lives, and combat the scourge of human trafficking.”
While human trafficking occurs nationwide, the “Your Roads, Their Freedom” campaign will place a heightened emphasis on states with the highest reported number of cases or with a high volume of driver traffic, including California, Florida, Michigan, New York, and North Carolina.
FMCSA plans to distribute a variety of campaign materials to help spread awareness:
• Human trafficking indicator cards for frontline CMV workforce
• Awareness posters to be displayed in rest areas, travel centers, bus stations, and other places where human trafficking may occur
• Social media content and a newsletter blurb that your organization can include in your internal and/or external communications
Those materials are intended to increase important work that many truckers have already done. Truckers made over 1,400 calls to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline from December 2007 through June 2016, and 452 potential human trafficking cases were identified.
According to FMCSA, truckers who see or suspect any indicators of human trafficking should not attempt to confront a suspected trafficker or engage with a victim directly, but rather should contact local law enforcement directly. Options include calling 9-1-1 to report a person in immediate danger, following your company’s reporting policy, or contacting the National Human Trafficking Hotline by dialing 888-373-7888 or texting HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).