FMCSA has launched a new program to combat human trafficking. - Image: Canva

FMCSA has launched a new program to combat human trafficking.

Image: Canva

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently launched its new human trafficking awareness campaign, “Your Roads, Their Freedom.” The campaign seeks to give the nation’s 8.7 million commercial motor vehicle drivers the information needed to identify and report suspected human trafficking. 

“Human trafficking is a heinous crime, and it has no place in the transportation industry,” said FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson. “But the hard-hitting reality is that our nation’s transportation systems are exploited by human traffickers every day, and FMCSA is working to help stop it.”

Because human trafficking poses a threat to transportation safety, FMCSA, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, said it is uniquely positioned to educate commercial vehicle drivers on ways to protect U.S. roadways against criminals perpetrating this crime.

Additionally, FMCSA requires states and the District of Columbia to permanently ban drivers convicted of human trafficking from operating a commercial motor vehicle, which requires a commercial driver’s license or commercial learner’s permit.

Scope of Human Trafficking

Globally, according to FMCSA, an estimated 28 million people are currently subjected to human trafficking and the crime occurs in every state of the U.S. As part of the Department of Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking awareness campaign, the “Your Roads, Their Freedom” campaign will build on other federal efforts against human trafficking, including the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign and FMCSA’s grant programs, which awarded millions in funding to support state counter-trafficking efforts. 

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, speaking to the President’s Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking earlier this year, said with the “Your Roads, Their Freedom” campaign, DOT aims “to empower America’s transportation workforce, which is millions strong, to be the eyes and ears of our collective effort.”

The new program is part of the Biden administration's overall National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.

A downloadable visor card on human trafficking gives drivers tips on what to look for. - Source: FMCSA

A downloadable visor card on human trafficking gives drivers tips on what to look for.

Source: FMCSA

Hotline Reporting

Truckers made over 1,400 calls to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline from December 2007 through June 2016, and 452 potential human trafficking cases were identified. Truckers reported this information in real-time, enabling quicker responses by law enforcement, FMCSA said in a press release.

The agency's new program includes information on signs of possible human trafficking that truckers should watch for

While the “Your Roads, Their Freedom” campaign will be conducted nationwide, there will be a heightened emphasis across states with the highest reported number of human trafficking cases or a high volume of driver traffic, such as California, Florida, Michigan, New York, and North Carolina.

One group, Truckers Against Trafficking, has been raising awareness of human trafficking and offering training programs to help drivers spot signs of trafficking for more than a decade.

Updated 8/18/2023 to add information on what drivers should look for.

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