The I-40 and I-35 corridor makes Oklahoma a prime location for not only drug trafficking, but human trafficking. Truck stops are major targets for traffickers, which is why Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Steve Vaughan authored House Bill 2651 that received final approval in the Senate Wednesday and is moving on to the governor’s office.
HB 2651 allows the Commissioner of Public Safety to require training for students for Class A, B or C commercial licenses to include training on the recognition, prevention and reporting of human trafficking. The Commissioner would regularly review and update the training to take into account changes and trends in human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in our country and Oklahoma is a prime target. Truck stops are the perfect place for traffickers to move their goods and as transfer points for transporting their victims,” said Simpson, R-Springer. “If trained in what to look and listen for as well as what to do, truckers can be instrumental in recognizing and stopping these crimes. Heroes on the highway.”
The measure was requested by Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), a 501c3 and an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries that was started in March 2009 to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking industry on the critical role they can play in fighting human trafficking.
According to TAT, ongoing sting operations by the FBI and other law enforcement personnel reveal that criminals and crime syndicates sell their victims at a number of locations frequented by truckers. Since 2004, these sting operations have rescued hundreds of children, recovered millions of dollars and arrested numerous perpetrators.
If you or anyone you know suspects human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888.