On Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens is joining forces with the Georgia Motor Trucking Association and Truckers Against Trafficking to host a day-long training for trucking carriers, truck stop managers and law enforcement on human trafficking and how they can help stop it.
Attorney General Olens will hold a joint press conference with Truckers Against Trafficking and the Georgia Motor Trucking Association prior to the training on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 9:15 a.m. in front of the Judicial Building, 40 Capitol Square, SW, Atlanta, Ga.
“Fighting the scourge of human trafficking has been one of my top priorities as Attorney General,” said Attorney General Sam Olens. “It is a grave violation of human rights that robs people of their dignity and self-worth. We have declared that ‘Georgia’s Not Buying It,’ and I am committed to putting away criminals who engage in this unconscionable activity. I applaud Truckers Against Trafficking for their work to engage the trucking industry in eradicating this evil, and I appreciate the support of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association.”
The training will provide the trucking industry with the tools they need to spot human trafficking situations and mobilize their industry to fight this heinous crime. It will also educate them on how they can coordinate with law enforcement to aid in the recovery of victims and the apprehension of traffickers and buyers.
The trucking industry will hear from a range of speakers involved in combatting human trafficking, including law enforcement and a trafficking survivor. Additionally, the Freedom Drivers Project, a 48-foot mobile exhibit that travels the country to educate the public on human trafficking, will be available for tours.
“Partnering with Attorney General Olens and the Georgia Motor Trucking Association to make this event happen is strategic, insofar as Truckers Against Trafficking works across the nation to bring together law enforcement with key industry stakeholders to close loopholes to traffickers,” said Kendis Paris Executive Director of Truckers Against Trafficking. “We find that these meetings have exponential effects in that hundreds become trained, new communication lines open and critical information is exchanged. We are also very proud to bring the Freedom Drivers Project to Atlanta, and believe it will heighten the level of training attendees receive.”
“The exploitation of the innocent depends in large part of the rest of us not paying attention; whether knowingly or unwittingly turning a blind eye to things that are sometimes in plain view,” said Ed Crowell of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association. “We must learn to recognize the signs when we see them and then commit to acting on what we see. That is what this effort is about and why GMTA is proud to be a part of it.”
Human trafficking is modern day slavery in which human beings are bought and sold for commercial sex or are forced into labor servitude, sometimes both, for the profit of others. It is a crime that threatens society’s most vulnerable children – the average age of entry for victims is 12-14. Victims are often enticed by traffickers with promises of a better life, only to be abused, drugged and held in bondage, both mentally and physically.
Human traffickers are constantly moving victims from venue to venue for sale or exploitation. Members of the trucking industry are the eyes and ears of America’s highway system, and they have the ability to be a crucial force in aiding law enforcement in detecting human trafficking.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, human trafficking is a multi-billion criminal industry affecting every corner of the globe, and Georgia is no exception. A report released last year by the Urban Institute estimated that the underground commercial sex trade in Atlanta grosses $290 million a year.
Founded in 2009, the mission of Truckers Against Trafficking is educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking and travel plaza industry to combat domestic sex trafficking.