It’s estimated that nearly 25 million people are trafficked worldwide. No one is excluded from this threat; with victims including adults and children of all ages, different nationalities and backgrounds.
Although the number of persons prosecuted for human trafficking in the U.S. increased 84 percent from 2011 to 2020, there is still a lot of work to be done to educate and eliminate trafficking.
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Victims are forced to perform labor, often sex work, under threats of violence or through other means of manipulation, such as the withholding of immigration documents. Females are disproportionately affected, accounting for 71 percent of victims. Migrant workers and indigenous people also face a high risk for trafficking.
In addition, those who are trafficked are often forced to live in subpar conditions without access to running water or electricity. They are kept isolated from others and only allowed to communicate under strict supervision.
How Does Human Trafficking Relate to the Trucking Industry?
Truck stops provide traffickers with convenient places to conduct business. This is because they’re right off the highway, allowing for quick, easy access. They also tend to be located away from central areas, making them more secluded and harder to monitor for suspicious and dangerous activity.
Given this knowledge, truck drivers must be effective trafficking combatants to help alleviate this ongoing crisis. Educated drivers who have the tools to spot, approach and report these issues will help victims get the support they need.
How Werner Is Helping to Make a Difference
Werner places great priority on raising awareness around human trafficking. No one should be forced to work under such circumstances, nor live in such poor conditions.
With a vast network across North America, Werner’s professional drivers have many opportunities to observe trafficking and help victims get the assistance they need. Professional drivers are trained to be observant while doing their job safely and can use these skills to detect signs of human trafficking.
Werner’s continued relationship with Truckers Against Trafficking, a nonprofit that helps train truck drivers on how to recognize and report instances of human trafficking, serves as a resource for all associates and professional drivers. In 2022 alone, our drivers viewed 27,074 courses, approximately 13,500 training hours, across both the Werner and Roadmaster Drivers School teams.
In 2020 we signed the U.S Department of Transportation’s Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT) initiative. This voluntary pledge ensures that Werner, alongside other industry organizations, will continue to educate our associates and help raise awareness amongst the public.
Since 2021, Werner has:
- Had drivers contact the National Trafficking Hotline more than 120 times per year
- Participated in United Against Slavery’s National Outreach Survey for Transportation
- Met our goal to double our training time by 2025, achieving this by Q1 of 2022
In addition, by the end of this year (2023), we plan to roll out anti-trafficking training to all of our office associates.
To learn more about how you can join Werner and the many other companies and organizations helping to eliminate human trafficking, or to report an incident, we encourage you to check out some of the resources listed below or visit the Department of Justice’s resource page.