In commemoration of January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, industry associations are making a concerted effort to reaffirm their commitment to promote awareness and make a difference in fighting this crime. The industry is in a unique position to spot the signs of danger.
To bring attention to Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11, the Greater California Livery Association (GCLA) took to Facebook to spread the message. GCLA Director Mark Stewart of CLI Worldwide affirmed the association’s commitment to help combat trafficking by posting a reflection and prayer.
“Human trafficking generates more than $150 billion annually,” read the post. “One in 4 victims is a child, 70 percent of all trafficking victims are sold online, and 7 in 10 victims are female. We can become a part of the solution when we take the time to learn and spread awareness of the problem.”
On the bus side of the industry, the American Bus Association (ABA), Coach USA, and Greyhound have been partnering with Busing on the Lookout (BOTL), a program of Truckers Against Trafficking, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign to educate and equip their drivers and networks with information on how to identify and report suspicions of human trafficking they may be seeing in the course of their everyday jobs. As a result, bus drivers and bus station employees throughout the country have played a role by helping trafficking victims access services, reporting suspicions of trafficking to law enforcement, and supporting anti-trafficking investigations.
“The practice of human trafficking is a scourge in our country,” said ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso. “We are a proud partner of Truckers Against Trafficking and Busing on the Lookout as we work together to education our members and drivers on how to recognize human traffickers using motorcoaches. We have a great number of success stories where our companies have been able to help victims. We look forward to continuing this work together until this practice comes to an end.”
“The bus industry has a key role to play in helping to end human trafficking. As transportation professionals who are truly the eyes and ears of America’s roadways and communities, frontline employees are regularly coming into contact with victims of human trafficking and our goal is to make sure they know how to recognize and report it effectively,” said BOTL Director Annie Sovcik. “During the past three years, BOTL has provided anti-human trafficking training to more than 115,000 bus industry personnel in the United States and we have seen the power of that knowledge as bus drivers and bus station employees have taken actions that have helped to recover victims and bring traffickers to justice. We welcome the continued commitment of the American Bus Association, Coach USA, Greyhound and many others in the industry as we continue this fight together.”