TALLAHASSEE, FL (STL.News) Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles today launched a campaign aimed at enlisting half a million commercial truck drivers in the fight to end human trafficking. The campaign, Highway Heroes, involves a multimedia campaign, outreach materials mailed directly to commercial driver license holders and a new website with resources to educate drivers how to identify victims and report suspected human trafficking. The joint effort between Attorney General Moody and FLHSMV is funded through a U.S. Department of Transportation grant issued to FLHSMV to help train drivers and raise awareness about human trafficking on America’s roadways.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Truck drivers play an important role in our fight to end human trafficking. Nearly half a million licensed truck drivers live in Florida, and at any given time—day or night—they can be found transporting goods across our great state. By spending so much time on the road, visiting truck stops and communicating with each other regularly, these drivers create a powerful network that can be called upon to spot and report suspected human trafficking. I am proud to partner with FLHSMV to launch this bold initiative aimed at adding a million eyes and ears to patrol thousands of miles of Florida roadways to help spot human trafficking and rescue trafficking victims from their captors.”
“In Florida, we are fortunate to have more than 500,000 licensed commercial drivers that serve our communities every day. Not only do they keep our economy moving and haul essential goods, but they also are uniquely positioned to shine a light on traffickers that exploit our transportation system for their horrific crimes,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “I appreciate Attorney General Moody and our trucking industry heroes for prioritizing the fight against human trafficking in our state and on our roadways through this important initiative.”
“Truck drivers serve as the eyes and ears on our roads—ensuring everyone stays safe,” said President of Florida Trucking Association Ken Armstrong. “The members of FTA have made it a priority to train their professional drivers to spot and report human trafficking, with almost one million drivers having already received the training nationally. We encourage ALL Florida commercial truck drivers to become a Certified Trucker Against Trafficking.”
As part of the initiative, approximately half a million letters will be sent to CDL holders in Florida by Oct. 30. Additionally, a new website full of information and resources is launching for CDL holders to use to learn how to spot trafficking, gather evidence, report the crime and become a Certified Trucker Against Trafficking.
To view the website, click here.
Highway Heroes will launch a digital media campaign targeted towards CDL holders in Florida with messaging about human trafficking. The digital campaign will begin this year and run through January 2021, National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, leading right up to Super Bowl LV which will be played on Feb. 7, 2021 in Tampa.
To view letters being sent to CDL holders in Florida, click here.
To report an occurrence of human trafficking, or a suspicion of this atrocious crime, contact local law enforcement and call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1(888) 373-7888.
Fighting human trafficking is a major priority for Attorney General Moody, who serves as Chair of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking. The Council consists of 15 members from law enforcement, prosecutors, legislators and experts in the health, education and social services fields who work to build on existing state and local partnerships to combat human trafficking.
For more information about the Council, click here.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Moody launched the annual Human Trafficking Summit in its first-ever virtual format featuring Tim Tebow as keynote speaker. To watch the Summit, register here.
YouTube video provided courtesy of Florida Attorney General