As part of its ongoing effort to rescue human trafficking victims and bring traffickers to justice, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) announced Minnesota law enforcement and the trucking industry will join together to combat human trafficking.
The BCA is hosting a meeting of trucking industry representatives, law enforcement and human trafficking experts that will also include several days of training on how to spot sex trafficking and how to respond when it is suspected. Attendees will hear about actual sex trafficking case scenarios from law enforcement, prosecutors and survivors.
“Partnerships like this are critical for combatting sex trafficking,” said BCA Superintendent Drew Evans. “Truckers are present in every Minnesota community and on the roadways that connect them. They are a key resource for spotting and reporting traffickers who are transporting their victims or looking to sell sex with the victim to a trucker.”
The training is available through a partnership with the BCA-led Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force, the Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA) and the organization Truckers Against Trafficking.
"Truckers Against Trafficking is pleased to be joining with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Minnesota Trucking Association to strategically work together to close loopholes to traffickers in Minnesota,” said Esther Gotesch, Truckers Against Trafficking coalition build specialist. “As the eyes and ears along our nations roadways, professional drivers and truck stop employees are in a unique position to report crimes as they are taking place, making them critical partners in the fight against human trafficking."
More than 90 people – including trucking industry and truck stop leadership, trucking companies and law enforcement – will attend the meeting and training. They will be then asked to spread the word to educate their own staff to maximize efforts to rescue victims and bring criminals to justice.
“The Minnesota Trucking Association believes human trafficking is heinous crime that cannot be tolerated by our society,” said John Hausladen, Minnesota Trucking Association president and CEO. “The MTA is working to strengthen this voice with our ongoing commitment to train drivers in identifying signs of trafficking and reporting suspicious activity. We believe the more we can do to help raise awareness and continue to spread the word throughout the industry is crucial to putting an end to human trafficking.”
Human trafficking includes offenses where a person is induced by fraud or coerced to participate in commercial sex acts or induced to perform such acts and has not attained 18 years of age. Last year there were 173 documented cases of trafficking in the state. In 2016 that number was 235, which nearly doubled the 2015 totals of 119.