“Truckers Against Trafficking” Empowers Truck Drivers To End Human Trafficking
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Columbia, SC (WOLO)– Thursday, thousands of South Carolina’s truckers joined the fight against trafficking. Attorney General Alan Wilson announced a partnership that trains people who drive big rigs on how to spot and how to respond to trafficking.
“I…. I didn’t know… I just, you know, she didn’t want to be there by herself I can almost promise you that. And it still tears me up that I didn’t know at that time,” John McKown, a UPS freight driving instructor, said while getting emotional recalling seeing a woman being trafficked back in the 90s.
Trucking Against Trafficking is joining up with the South Carolina Trucking Association and the Attorney General’s office to display this 18-wheeler exhibit to bring more awareness to human trafficking.
“Now, instead of just police officers patrolling the interstates and highway systems, we have thousands of truckers everyday driving up and down, who could potentially be coming in contact with human trafficking victims,” Wilson said. According to the national group Trucking Against Trafficking, there are 3.3 million truck drivers in the US, so at any given time there are more truck drivers on the road than law enforcement officers.
“They’re in every community, every day. And as such they are uniquely positioned on those front lines to work with local, state, and federal officials to eradicate this terrible, terrible, behavior,” Rick Todd said, President and CEO of South Carolina Trucking Association.
Some things truckers were told to look for individuals who have other people answering for them, suspicious vehicles are near the trucks, or minors who look scared and out of place.
“You go into a truck stop, don’t just look for that parking space. Just take 30 seconds out of your day, look around the parking lot. See if something doesn’t look right, and if it doesn’t call the number,” McKown said.
Now, truckers are equipped with the training to be able to spot trafficking and make a life-saving difference, something they say is already getting results.
“They had beaten her, raped her, burned her all over her body. They, using instruments heated on the RV’s stove, they had branded her and they were starving her. Doctors later confirmed that had that call not been made, she would have died in the next few days. But he had the courage to pick up the phone and make that call,” Esther Goetsch said, with Truckers Against Trafficking.
“It really breaks my heart. If it happens today, I know what to do, just because I’m trained,” McKown said.
Truckers Against Trafficking said every person made more aware of human trafficking becomes another knight in the fight against the 150-billion dollar industry which profits off of 42 million victims.
To learn more you can click here and find more information on spotting human trafficking.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released a new PSA Thursday titled “Can You See Me?” Click here to view it.
Always call 911 if you suspect human trafficking.