The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is launching a new annual three-day Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative (HTAI) early next year in Canada and the U.S., corresponding with each country’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day. In the U.S., the initiative will start on U.S. Human Trafficking Awareness Day, which is Jan. 11, to Jan. 13. In Canada, it will start on Canada’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day, which is Feb. 22, to Feb. 24.
This initiative is an awareness and outreach effort to educate commercial motor vehicle drivers, motor carriers, law enforcement officers and the general public about the crime of human trafficking, the signs to look for and what to do if you suspect someone is being trafficked.
According to the United Nations, human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception with the aim of exploiting them for profit. Men, women and children of all ages and from all backgrounds can become victims of this crime, which occurs in every region of the world, including North America. Human traffickers often use violence or fraudulent employment agencies and fake promises of education and job opportunities to trick and coerce their victims.
“Human traffickers often use roadways as the mode of transportation for transporting their victims,” said CVSA President Capt. John Broers with the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “Since our roadways are the ‘workplace’ for truck drivers, motorcoach drivers and commercial motor vehicle inspectors, they are in a prime position to make a difference in helping to identify potential victims of human trafficking.”
“Identification, and ultimately prevention, starts with education,” Capt. Broers added. “Through CVSA’s Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative, we aim to equip drivers and inspectors with the tools they need to proactively serve on the frontline in our effort to end human trafficking.”
In preparation for the 2022 Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative, CVSA is offering human trafficking awareness resources to its membership and working with the Truckers Against Trafficking organization to distribute wallet cards and window decals. In addition, during the three-day awareness initiatives, CVSA jurisdictions will note human trafficking awareness and outreach data and submit that data to the Alliance.
To find out what your local jurisdiction is doing to increase human trafficking awareness, contact the agency/department responsible for overseeing commercial motor vehicle safety within your state, province or territory.