MILTON — Santa Rosa County truckers are making the fight against human trafficking a top priority.
Truck Driver’s Institute in Milton trains adults to get their Class A Commercial Drivers Licenses and provides job placement with 20-plus carrier partners. On Feb. 8, TDI’s corporate office in Tennessee announced the school’s partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking.
“TDI showed us a video on human trafficking,” TDI-Milton graduate Courtney Smith said. “It describes what happens at local truck stops and what to look for. They also gave us a hotline to call or text and report suspicious activity.”
TAT training focuses on realities about human trafficking; namely, that it could happen to anybody.
“It’s not just girls that get taken, it’s guys too,” TDI-Milton graduate Jennifer Keeton said. “Young, old — it doesn’t matter. I have children; I have family. It could be one of them that’s taken.”
Sex trafficking occurs any time there is a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud or coercion, or the person engaged in the act is under age 18.
Polaris, the organization that runs the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and Hotline, has reported human trafficking cases in all 50 states. FBI operations have recovered children as young as 13 forced to have sex for money at truck stops, as well as other places.
To date, truckers reportedly have made 1,534 calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, resulting in 471 potential cases, involving 1,033 victims.
“I wouldn’t think that many young girls and women could be held against their will and treated and sold like they are,” TDI-Milton graduate Timothy McGee said. “I will now keep my eyes open out there on the road and report anything that I think could be a situation where someone is being held against their will, or being sold for sex.
“I will do my part to help stop human trafficking. I’m really glad I got to watch the film.”