On Monday, Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) 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 on how to identify victims and report suspected human trafficking. The joint effort between 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.
“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,” Moody said on Monday.
“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 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 Florida Trucking Association (FTA) President 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.
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 is scheduled to be played on Feb. 7, 2021 in Tampa.