This week, state Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) highlighted the one-year anniversary of the Highway Heroes campaign and the thousands of truck drivers trained through the program.
Since the launch of the campaign, more than 4,400 commercial truck drivers received anti-human trafficking training and are now equipped to help keep an eye on Florida’s 12,000 miles of highways and report suspicious activity to law enforcement.
“Truck drivers are vital in our fight to end human trafficking. They travel Florida’s 12,000 miles of highways and interstates all day, every day and are uniquely positioned to be our eyes and ears on the road, and at truck stops and rest areas—where human traffickers may conduct their illicit business. It’s why we created Highway Heroes and why we are working hard to sign up even more Commercial Driver License holders to help spot these crimes and end trafficking in our state,” Moody said.
FLHSMV Executive Director Terry Rhodes also weighed in this week.
“Over the past year, Florida’s commercial drivers have stepped up in tremendous ways – serving as the backbone to our economy and heroes to our most vulnerable. Thousands of Florida’s licensed truck drivers answered the call to help end human trafficking across our state by becoming a certified Highway Hero, and we thank them for their commitment to keeping our roadways and communities safe,” Rhodes said.
Highway Heroes is a multifaceted outreach campaign that includes awareness materials mailed directly to Commercial Driver License holders and a website with resources to educate drivers about how to identify victims and report suspected human trafficking. The website also contains a link to the Truckers Against Trafficking training material. The campaign started in October 2020 through a partnership between the Florida Attorney General’s Office and FLHSMV. Since the campaign’s launch, 4,471 commercial truck drivers in Florida are now TAT certified. Additionally, FLHSMV has trained more than 330 Florida Highway Patrol troopers using TAT’s law enforcement training resources.
Earlier this year, in advance of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month and Super Bowl LV, Highway Heroes launched a digital media campaign targeting commercial truck drivers with messaging about human trafficking. Digital messages, aimed at truck drivers through strategic ad placement, encouraged participation in training on how to spot, report and end this horrific crime ahead of the National Football League’s (NFL) championship game in Tampa.
Following the game, Moody continued the recruitment efforts, announcing that all PGT Innovations drivers would receive anti-human trafficking training through the Highway Heroes campaign. PGT Innovations is the largest private-sector employer in Sarasota County.