NATSO and the NATSO Foundation underscored the truck stop and travel plaza industry’s commitment to combatting human trafficking in a statement submitted to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation with respect to its hearing on how transportation and supply chain stakeholders are combatting human trafficking.
“For nearly six years, the NATSO Foundation has been helping members of the truck stop and travel plaza community engage in the fight against human trafficking,” NATSO Vice President of Public Affairs Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman said in the statement. “Private enterprises can make a meaningful difference in the fight against human trafficking if they take the time to learn about and invest resources toward combatting it. Because human trafficking has been reported across all modes of transportation, it is critical that the Committee conducts this hearing, and we applaud the Committee’s participation in this effort.”
Human trafficking victims are frequently transported via the Interstate Highway System, Wlazlowski Neuman said. As an industry that caters to millions of travelers each year, truck stops and travel plazas and their employees are in a key position to help identify and report suspected incidents of human trafficking along America’s highway system.
The NATSO Foundation has been helping members of the truck stop and travel plaza community engage in the fight against human trafficking since 2012. The NATSO Foundation’s goal is to provide the truck stop and travel plaza industry with the necessary tools so individuals are equipped to help if they encounter a victim of this horrible crime.
The NATSO Foundation highlighted its work with the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Polaris Project, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Truckers Against Trafficking and other organizations with whom it works to gain insight into best practices on how to educate members of the truckstop and travel plaza community to identify suspected cases of human trafficking and report the information to the appropriate authorities.
The NATSO Foundation in 2016 launched an online course titled, “The Role of Truckstops in Combating Human Trafficking” to help truck stops and travel plazas train their staff in recognizing and responding to suspected incidents of human trafficking. The course is available on the NATSO Foundation’s website free of charge so any member of the truckstop and travel plaza industry can leverage this educational resource. The course can be accessed at www.NATSO.com/OnlineLearning.
Most recently, the NATSO Foundation partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to provide the DHS Blue Campaign’s training and awareness materials to the travel plaza and truck stop industry, enhancing the NATSO Foundation’s educational resources.
For more information on each of the NATSO Foundation’s initiatives to combat human trafficking, visit the NATSO Foundation website.