The United States recently warned that instability sparked by the global COVID-19 pandemic has opened the door to increased human trafficking. In its 2020 “Trafficking in Persons Report,” the U.S. Department of State said that, “while urgency has always marked the fight against human trafficking, the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic have magnified the need for all stakeholders to work together in the fight more than ever.”
This report serves as a reminder that human trafficking is still happening, and that our industry represents a key stakeholder in the fight against this crime.
On behalf of the NATSO Foundation, I encourage you to remain steadfast in helping honor the industry’s commitment to public awareness and education about the crime of human trafficking that takes place along the nation’s Interstate Highway System.
I encourage each of you to continue utilizing the many resources provided by the NATSO Foundation so that collectively we can continue to make a difference in the fight against human trafficking.
NATSO Foundation tools to combat human trafficking:
NATSO offers a Combating Human Trafficking Toolkit to help the industry implement a comprehensive program to combat human trafficking. The toolkit offers truckstops and travel centers a roadmap for implementing an anti-human trafficking education and awareness program at their individual locations. Specifically, it details key components of an anti-human trafficking campaign.
The NATSO Foundation offers an online learning tool, "The Role of Truckstops in Combating Human Trafficking," designed to help teach truckstop owners, operators and employees how to respond if they suspect human trafficking. The course is available free of charge to any member of the truckstop and travel plaza community.
The NATSO Foundation offers a 50-state chart of human trafficking awareness poster laws. This document provides detailed information on the state-specific laws requiring certain businesses to hang human trafficking public awareness materials. This is an important tool for truckstops and travel centers as many state laws reference businesses that provide services and amenities which many truckstop and travel plazas offer, such as overnight parking, food, fuel and lodging.
Through its alliance with the Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign, the NATSO Foundation provides the DHS Blue Campaign’s training and awareness materials – including posters, handouts and other materials — to the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas. These materials can be downloaded from the NATSO Foundation website for use in your location.
The NATSO Foundation co-sponsors regional meetings with Truckers Against Trafficking that bring members of the business community together with law enforcement to discuss regional human trafficking trends and collective ways to combat this crime. Approximately six of these regional meetings are held each year. At this time, the group is hosting virtual coalition meetings rather than in-person.
The NATSO Foundation also works with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to increase the visibility of missing children at high risk for sex trafficking through the agency's High-Risk Poster Listserv. Businesses uniquely positioned to help identify missing children considered to be at high risk for sex trafficking can register to receive electronic posters containing their images and other vital information.
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