Move comes as legislation develops to give federal and state law enforcement more tools to fight trafficking.
Truckstop and travel center operators this detailed the efforts they are undertaking to help fight human trafficking across the country on Capitol Hill, as Congress seeks to pass legislation that would provide state and federal law enforcement agencies with more “tools” to fight this crime.
In testimony before the House of Representative’s Committee on Homeland Security, Lisa Mullings, president of the NATSO Foundation – formerly known as the National Association of Truck Stop Operators – said truckstops and travel plazas play a “vital role” in combating human trafficking.
Specifically, Mullings cited the NATSO Foundation’s partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its “Blue Campaign” to distribute public awareness materials truckstops can post in their locations.
As an industry that caters to millions of travelers every year, truckstops and travel plazas and their employees are in a key position to help identify and report suspected incidents of human trafficking, Mullings stressed in her testimony.
“Although there is no official estimate for the total number of U.S. human trafficking victims, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of adults and minors are victims of human trafficking each year – many of whom are moved from state to state along our interstate highway system,” she said.
The NATSO Foundation provides online education courses to help truckstops and travel plazas train their staff in recognizing and responding to suspected incidents of human trafficking, Mullings noted.
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