With an estimated 21 million people around the world victimized by human trafficking, the United States is fully engaged in combating what President Obama has called one of the great human rights causes of our time: modern-day slavery.
Every year, the Department of State releases a comprehensive report on governmental anti-human trafficking efforts. It tracks global trends in 188 countries, including law enforcement, victim identification and protection and prevention efforts. We have stepped up efforts to combat human trafficking abroad and in the United States, where many unwitting victims are brought.
On December 11, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it had partnered with one of the nation’s largest highway travel center operators to train its employees to look for signs of people being transported against their will in this country and to notify the proper authorities.
TravelCenters of America will provide DHS training and awareness materials – including posters, handouts, and a Public Service Announcement – to over 250 locations and more than 15,000 employees across the United States. These materials will help TravelCenters of America personnel and customers to identify and recognize indicators of human trafficking, as well as provide information on how to report suspected cases.
Victims often find themselves in a foreign country where they can’t speak the language. In addition, traffickers frequently take away the victims' travel and identity documents, telling them that if they attempt to escape, they or their families back home will be harmed, or that their families will assume the debt.
TravelCenters of America’s involvement in the trucking industry makes it a critical partner in the fight against human trafficking. Truck drivers who know potential indicators of human trafficking and how to report it can provide eyes and ears all around the country.