On national awareness day OOIDA supports efforts to end human trafficking

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 1/11/2013

As part of Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Friday, Jan. 11, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is urging the trucking community to be on the lookout for signs of human trafficking when they are out on the road.

OOIDA is partnering with the nonprofit group, Truckers Against Trafficking, as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation and others in the trucking industry to develop a plan to combat human trafficking.

Laura O’Neill, director of government affairs for OOIDA, told Land Line on Friday that she is amazed at how much awareness this administration “has brought to human trafficking issue in such a short period of time.”

“It is obvious that a social dialogue has erupted and people are being greatly educated about what trafficking is and how it touches everyone’s daily lives,” O’Neill said.

President Obama has also declared January 2013 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

In November 2012, OOIDA, as well as representatives from the transportation industry, met with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to develop a plan after President Obama instructed his administration to increase its efforts to combat human trafficking at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in September 2012.

Truckers who spot potential human trafficking out on the road or at rest areas or truck stops are urged to call the Polaris Project’s national hotline number at 888-373-7888. They are urged not to approach the potential trafficker, but to let the hotline operators contact the Federal Bureau of Investigations as well as local law enforcement to report the incident.

Truckers can stop by OOIDA HQ and pick up TAT wallet cards with the number and other information to educate themselves about spotting signs of human trafficking. OOIDA’s tour truck, “The Spirit of the American Trucker,” also has TAT wallet cards available.

“Human trafficking has been recognized as a problem, which is why OOIDA has continuously supported Truckers Against Trafficking and looks forward to working with them even more so in the future,” O’Neill said.

Related story: Transportation industry unites to stop human trafficking

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