SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - As the crime of sex trafficking begins to get more attention in this country, Prime trucking of Springfield is preparing its drivers to be on the front lines of the fight.
Prime Inc. has nearly 7,000 truck drivers that go all over the United States. Last October, they joined the effort to fight human trafficking with Truckers Against Trafficking. Prime has trained nearly 2,800 drivers since October and is continuing.
On Monday, employees had a chance to check out the Freedom Drivers Project. It's a traveling semi trailer that tells stories of human trafficking survivors and helps educate truckers on what they can do.
Truckers Against Trafficking teaches them to watch for signs, which can include things like:
-- tattoos showing ownership;
-- a young woman having no money or I.D., maybe not even knowing where she is, because traffickers often keep their victims moving from place to place. They're places truckers may also be.
"They regularly visit places that maybe the everyday person doesn't. So they know who looks out of place, what looks out of place in these areas where we might not even notice it," said Helen Van Dam, Truckers Against Trafficking's Freedom Drivers Project Director.
Prime Inc. driver Thomas Miller says, "What I tell everybody is, 'Go with your gut.' It's always led me in the right direction. So if you see something, say something. If it looks out of place, if it just doesn't seem right. If you see a 15-, 16-year-old girl walking around a truck stop by herself, that's not right. I've taken my 15-year-old daughter on the road with me before, and I go with her everywhere she goes."
Of course, you don't have to be a truck driver to report suspected human trafficking. You can call 1-888-373-7888 for the National Human Trafficking Hotline, or click the link to the right side of this story for more information.