SRTC Trucking Students Learn to Monitor Human Trafficking | Local News
TIFTON, GA – Before a commercial truck driver can graduate from Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC), the student must demonstrate a readiness to handle the demands of driving a commercial vehicle. During their final exams, students demonstrate proficiency in driving a utility vehicle on public roads through a variety of maneuvers, performing range operations such as clearance maneuvers, fire maneuvers, recoil, turns, parallel parking and the coupling / uncoupling of a large platform. Over ten weeks, the program provides basic training in commercial truck operating principles and skills, putting dozens of safe and skilled commercial truck drivers on the road each semester.
One lesson, however, has little to do with driving a tractor-trailer, and everything to do with making the country safer for some of the world’s most vulnerable people. SRTC’s Commercial Truck Driving Program has partnered with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) to provide a program that trains student drivers to identify and respond to potential human trafficking activity, which frequently occurs at truck stops and in other high traffic areas.
Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery. Globally, more than 40 million people are estimated to be living in slavery today, according to a press release from the SRTC. Human trafficking has been reported in all 50 states and the death toll in the United States is estimated in the hundreds of thousands.
Although illegal, human trafficking is a booming activity, the press release says. Traffickers find their victims in schools, online and in public places. The crime of human trafficking takes place on the streets, in private homes and even in legitimate businesses such as restaurants, truck stops and motels. Since its inception in 2009, TAT has helped identify nearly 1,300 victims of human trafficking.
“Daily helpless individuals fall prey to traffickers who exploit them for prostitution and other heinous and heinous acts,” said Dr. Gerald Green, SRTC criminal justice instructor and former FBI agent. “Most of these victims are women and children. To avoid detection, traffickers continually move and resettle victims from one place to another. Truckers, who also travel from location to location and state to state, may provide observed information to include word of mouth and gossip heard in public places to the attention of the forces. order who can conduct appropriate follow-up investigations. Our collaboration with Truckers Against Trafficking has become another key weapon in helping law enforcement to tackle human trafficking. “
SRTC’s CDL program is able to use TAT’s free educational materials to train students in a classroom setting, the college said. The college issues all graduates with a TAT wallet card with national helpline numbers. TAT-trained drivers are not supposed to intervene or be invited to intervene if they see anything suspicious. Instead, the program trains drivers to observe and report suspicious activity to law enforcement agencies.
SRTC Criminal Justice Program Chair Karen Murray said it was the latest in a series of concerted efforts by the trucking industry to make the world a safer place.
“CDL drivers have been vigilant on the highways looking for drugs and hazardous materials, so they should be trained to monitor human trafficking as well,” Murray said. “Unfortunately, Atlanta is a hub for human trafficking because of the airport. Using our business engines to help reduce this serious crime is a partnership law enforcement needs. ”
Originally, the TAT organization aimed to teach truck drivers about traffic, but now TAT has broadened its scope to train bus drivers, taxi drivers, transport corps and even the casino security. In TAT’s quarterly newsletter, TAT Executive Director and Co-Founder Kendis Paris said, “Truckers Against Trafficking recognizes that members of these industries are invaluable in the fight against this heinous crime. As the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways, drivers are in a unique position to make a difference and close the loopholes for traffickers who seek to exploit our transportation system for their personal gain. I invite those interested to visit our website and find out how they can join this noble cause and save lives. ”
Each quarter, the National Anti-Human Trafficking Hotline provides TAT with a summary of the advice the hotline has received from truck drivers. The numerous appeals from the drivers are proof that commercial drivers continue to be careful reporters of potential human trafficking cases across the country and are doing their part to promote freedom. For more information on TAT, visit the organization online: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org.