Colorado truckers will soon have to complete a human trafficking awareness course to get a commercial driver’s license under a bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. John Hickenlooper, according to the Denver Post.
House Bill 1018, which had bipartisan support, mandates that new commercial driver’s license applicants go through a half-hour training at no extra cost. It will go into effect over the summer.
To meet the new requirement through Truckers Against Trafficking’s online course, drivers will need to watch a 26-minute video, then complete a 15-question quiz.
Lawmakers and advocacy groups hope that with more trained eyes on the road, law enforcement will have a helping hand in stopping sex and labor trafficking.
“It just heightens awareness, and it shows you how you can be part of the solution,” said Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, one of the bill’s sponsors.
The trucking industry supported the measure, according to the newspaper. The bill passed the Colorado legislature with limited opposition. Several states have passed similar laws.
Ohio has already adopted the same training requirement, and legislation is pending in Kansas and Texas.
Modern-day slavery, or human trafficking exists whenever people are bought and sold for forced labor or commercial sex. Around the world, it is estimated that there are over 40 million slaves today. Human trafficking has been reported in all 50 states, and the number of victims in the United States is estimated in the hundreds of thousands, according to Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT).
Sadly, human trafficking is a booming business. Traffickers recruit out of our schools, online, in shopping malls, as well as the streets and other locations. A large percentage of the people trafficked are women and children. Many of them are used in the sex industry. They are the prostituted people on the street and in private homes, and in legitimate businesses such as restaurants, truck stops and motels. They need to be identified and recovered.
TAT recognizes that members of the trucking industry and individual truckers are invaluable in the fight against this heinous crime. As the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways, truckers are in a unique position to make a difference and close loopholes to traffickers who exploit people through the transportation system.
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