HH

In recognition of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the Florida

Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), Attorney General Ashley Moody, Florida Trucking

Association, and Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) are putting a spotlight on human trafficking – a crime that often hides in plain sight – and the critical role Florida’s trucking and law enforcement professionals play in combating it.

Florida’s Highway Heroes initiative is an ongoing outreach campaign to train Florida’s half a million licensed commercial drivers on how to identify and report suspected human trafficking.

Florida’s commercial drivers are uniquely positioned to make a difference and close loopholes to traffickers who look to use transportation systems for their personal gain.

FLHSMV has trained nearly 4,600 licensed commercial drivers and nearly 400 FHP members through TAT on how to identify and report suspected

trafficking.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “We will not sit idly by as traffickers travel Florida preying on vulnerable people to fuel their illicit practice. Every truck driver in Florida needs to learn the signs, take the wheel, and help us speed toward this vital goal. By doing this, our Highway Heroes will not only make our roads safer, but they could also save the life of a trafficking victim in desperate need of help.”

“Florida’s 12,000 miles of highway and growing economy present residents and visitors to our state with many opportunities to travel for work and

leisure. And while our expansive highway system affords us so much,

criminals target our state and exploit our highways to traffic women, men, and children,” said FLHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “We are committed to serving as the eyes and ears of our highways. We are grateful for them, and safer because of them.”

“The Florida Highway Patrol is committed to doing everything possible to interrupt and combat human trafficking across our state and on our highway system,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “FHP troopers are trained to identify indicators of human trafficking, and to investigate potential trafficking situations with the intent of

apprehending those criminals who take advantage of our vulnerable population, while treating all victims with dignity and respect, and never as criminals or perpetrators.”

TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier said, "The more awareness raised, the more calls will be made to law enforcement, and lives will be saved. The Highway Heroes initiative recognizes the valuable role the commercial vehicle industry plays in combating this crime, and we look forward to its continued success."

Make the Call, Save Lives

When calling to report suspected human trafficking, law enforcement need

actionable information to assist them including:

• Descriptions of cars or trucks (make, model, color, license plate, truck and/or USDOT number) and people (height, weight, hair color, eye color, age.) Take a picture if possible.

• Specific times and dates (When did you see the event in question take place? What day was it?)

• Addresses and locations where suspicious activity took place.

• Be sure to tell them you suspect human trafficking, not prostitution.

Report Human Trafficking

The National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888

The U.S. Department of Justice Hotline: 1-888-428-7581

Florida Abuse Hotline: 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873)

Local Authorities: 911 or *FHP (*347)

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.