A nationwide campaign aimed at raising awareness about human trafficking, and amplifying industrywide efforts was launched by Truckers Against Trafficking and key partners, the group announced Feb. 21.
Truckers Against Trafficking will focus on sharing stories from commercial drivers who promote safety and advocate against trafficking. Aside from a robust social media presence, the campaign will feature banners, a touring tractor-trailer exhibition and speaking engagements across major trucking events.
At its core, the “Man to Man” campaign is anchored on the notion that without demand for commercial sex, trafficking would not exist. Groups partnering with Truckers Against Trafficking are American Trucking Associations, UPS Inc., Walmart, professional truck drivers, and trafficking survivors.
Nicole Clifton, vice president of global public affairs at UPS, said the company has trained 96,000 employees on human trafficking awareness and supported educational programs at the United Way.
“UPS knows that the business community can make a difference that will save lives and eventually accomplish the eradication of human trafficking,” Clifton said, at an event at ATA’s office in Washington. “We invite other transportation companies to join us in the fight.”
Federal lawmakers have expressed support for the campaign’s mission, as well, noted Elisabeth Barna, chief operating officer and executive vice president of industry affairs at ATA.
“Congress has really opened up, and I think they are wide-eyed about this now,” Barna said. “A lot of awareness has been made to Congress, and they are willing to jump in.”
In January, President Donald Trump signed legislation disqualifying commercial drivers found guilty of human trafficking. Sponsored by Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), the law requires the U.S. Department of Transportation to ban professional drivers with felonies for using commercial vehicles to traffic individuals.
“Truck drivers are often a critical asset in helping law enforcement identify victims who otherwise might go unseen,” Katko said. “However, an isolated few individuals have taken advantage of their position to illegally traffic innocent people.”
Nearly 21 million people are victims of human trafficking worldwide, according to the International Labour Organization. About two-thirds are forced to work, and a quarter of them are children.