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January 11, 2017 9:40 AM, EST

UPS Freight Partners With Truckers Against Trafficking

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Truckers Against Trafficking announced a partnership with UPS Freight that will train the carrier’s more than 8,000 drivers on how to recognize and respond to signs of human trafficking activity.

The program will be deployed throughout 2017, the Frankfurt, Kentucky-based group said.

“UPS Freight is in a unique position to help identify traffickers and trafficking victims by educating our drivers and management on this epidemic impacting our local communities,” Rich McArdle, president of UPS Freight, said in a statement. “We are proud to take a stand in fighting human trafficking and look forward to working with Truckers Against Trafficking on this initiative that will save lives.”

UPS Freight is the less-than-truckload and truckload unit of UPS Inc.

The new effort builds on the completion of a pilot project between TAT and UPS Freight across 10 states in December, which successfully trained 1,500 drivers, the group said.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness month, a national effort to increase awareness and educate the public about modern-day slavery, which impacts hundreds of thousands in the United States and more than 20 million globally, TAT said.

“TAT’s goal is to saturate trucking and related industries with educational materials and to equip drivers on how to recognize sex trafficking, what to do, and importantly — what not to do,” Kendis Paris, executive director of TAT, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have an industry leader like UPS on board, demonstrating the impact the business community can make to raise awareness and stop this horrific exploitation.”

Also, UPS Freight also will support TAT with quarterly in-kind transportation of TAT’s Freedom Drivers Project, which uses a semi-tractor trailer equipped with educational resources to serve as a mobile educational exhibit on human trafficking, the group said. The exhibit has been seen by more than 20,000 drivers at industry events since it debuted in August 2014, TAT said.

UPS Inc. ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.