The list of states across the country to call on professional drivers to help curb human trafficking continues to grow.
In July 2016 Ohio became the first state to implement mandatory training on trafficking prevention via Truckers Against Trafficking. Since then states including Illinois, Arkansas and Texas have followed suit.
Multiple efforts are underway at the South Carolina statehouse to adopt similar tie-ins.
H4681 would mandate prospective truck drivers receive training on trafficking prevention. To become licensed to drive a commercial vehicle, a person would be required to complete a human trafficking prevention course.
One bill, S803, includes a provision that specifies training must be done via TAT’s online certification course.
The rules sought also would apply to CDL holders renewing their license. S908 would exempt commercial drivers licensed for at least 20 years.
Once the prevention training is complete, the driver would not be required to have additional training at the time of license renewal.
Similar attempts to enlist professional drivers for help are active at statehouses that include Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
The Kentucky bill states that CDLs issued and renewed also would come with a wallet card that outlines the signs of human trafficking and how to report it. The phone number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline would be included.
Wisconsin state Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, has said that truck drivers are on the front line for combating human trafficking.
“Given that truck drivers are literally where the rubber meets the road where human trafficking occurs along our highways, they can and do play a critical role in identifying and preventing traffickers who create victims through the exploitation of our transportation system,” Johnson told members of an Assembly panel during previous testimony on AB540.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says truckers play a big role in identifying and reporting possible cases of human trafficking.
“With lawmakers across the country looking at ways to address this issue, it’s obviously something we’re interested in. We will continue to look at each proposal on a case-by-case basis and respond accordingly,” said OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Mike Matousek.
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