Truckers being trained to spot human trafficking

Posted at 4:59 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 05:17:04-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Trucking instructor Patrice Robinson with Tallahassee Community College can teach you all there is to know about the profession she adores. “I love it! I love it, I don’t think I’ll ever get out of it.”

Her lessons not only cover the basics, but how to ID human trafficking, a growing problem across the state and nation. “It’s very important because we are losing people every day,” Robinson says.

While Tallahassee Community College has offered the info as part of regular training for more than two years, it isn’t mandatory. At least not yet.

Senator Lauren Book has filed a bipartisan bill, with a companion in the House, requiring publicly-funded commercial driving schools to teach best methods to spot and prevent human trafficking.

Even those training to be school bus drivers would have to take a 40-minute course.

Kristina Bailey, with victim advocacy group International Rescue Committee, says getting drivers trained is one of the best ways to fight trafficking. They’re often on the front lines where these crimes are happening at hotels and rest stops along busy roads. “They are the ones coming into contact with these girls and males that are being trafficked.”

Spotting and reporting something suspicious could help save a life, she says.

A lesson Robison is already teaching and hopeful others will soon have to as well. “Truckers are out there. We’re the eyes and the ears of the road. Why not save a life?”

The House and Senate versions of the legislation have yet to be discussed in committee. Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office is still reviewing the bills, but said in a statement training transportation workers across the state is vital to rescuing victims.