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XPO Logistics Inc. announced Jan. 11 that it has formed a partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking in an effort to combat the crime.
XPO’s $25,000 corporate sponsorship will help by training commercial truck drivers to recognize potential traffickers and victims.
Human trafficking involves the use of force to obtain labor or a commercial sex act. The crime exploits about 25 million people globally, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“Every day, vulnerable individuals fall prey to human trafficking and many are taken far from their homes,” said LaQuenta Jacobs, chief diversity officer for XPO. “The transportation industry is in a unique position to alert law enforcement agencies to suspected trafficking activities. We’re proud to support Truckers Against Trafficking in taking practical measures to end modern-day slavery.”
Indicators that someone may be a victim include anxious behavior, malnourishment and lack of control over identification documents and money.
XPO introduced Truckers Against Trafficking training materials for less-than-truckload drivers and staff in 2020. According to XPO’s announcement, the company expects to make similar online learning materials available to all employees this year.
“One of our goals is to train thousands of XPO colleagues to become Truckers Against Trafficking ambassadors and help create awareness at events around the country,” Jacobs said.
XPO’s announcement was made during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
“Given the reach and influence of XPO Logistics, we are extremely encouraged to see this partnership develop,” said Truckers Against Trafficking Executive Director Kendis Paris. “We look forward to helping them reach their goal of training their workforce to not only be ‘eyes and ears’ out on the road, but also to become Truckers Against Trafficking ambassadors, raising awareness about this crime and how every individual can play a role in combating it.”
Truckers Against Trafficking’s network of partners includes other freight companies, as well as state associations.
In October, Florida officials launched the Highway Heroes campaign, which aims to involve truck drivers in the fight to end human trafficking. The campaign includes outreach materials, which were mailed to commercial driver license holders, and a new web page that has resources on how to spot signs of human trafficking and report suspected crimes.
At the federal level, human trafficking has been prioritized in recent years.
Last January, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao challenged industry representatives to commit to practices that help combat human trafficking, asking them to pledge to fight the crime. Chao announced her resignation Jan. 7 following violent riots at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. In a tweet Jan. 11, the day her resignation took effect, Chao said more than 500 transportation groups had committed to the pledge.
Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Over 500 transportation entities have pledged to combat #HumanTrafficking. Together we can put an end to this tragic practice. Learn more and join the fight today: https://t.co/7BrjYWhHO7— Sec. Elaine Chao (@SecElaineChao) January 11, 2021
In 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a final rule that permanently banned commercial motor vehicle drivers who have been convicted of human trafficking. The rulemaking specifically disqualifies drivers who use a truck to commit a felony involving human trafficking.
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