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Kansas CDL Drivers Soon to Study Human Trafficking Awareness - KOAM TV 7

Kansas CDL Drivers Soon to Study Human Trafficking Awareness

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Pittsburg, KS -

Kansas drivers will soon be trained to spot suspected human trafficking.  According to humantraffickinghotline.org, there were 140 human trafficking cases reported in Missouri in 2017.  The numbers are broken into categories and subcategories such as sex trafficking, labor, and sex and labor trafficking.  The site says the top venues for sex trafficking include massage businesses, hotels, online ads, and truck stops.

It's that last venue that is the target of a new Kansas law aimed at better informing bus and truck drivers about human trafficking.  Starting July 1st, all new CDL drivers will have to take a human trafficking awareness class.  Truck drivers we talked to said they already have to go through several classes in order to get their licenses.  But those truck drivers also told us this new rule is absolutely worthwhile.

A national train company, Pittsburg-based Watco is also a trucking company.  "Truck drivers, they're kind of a close-knit group," says truck driver Steve Brant with Watco.

Brant has been a truck driver for 42 years and has seen human trafficking.

"I have seen when the cops have shown up, the people who got arrested for it.  I got mad.  I imagine a lot of these girls have been kidnapped," says Brant.

Watco's director of DOT compliance, Dan Smith, Senior, has 37 years of law enforcement experience.  He saw human trafficking awareness training for law enforcement evolve.

"It came about in the early 2000's and in law enforcement we started receiving training," says Smith.

...Similar training CDL drivers in Kansas will soon be required to take.  Brant says when it comes to human trafficking...

"We're going to see it before anybody else does," says Brant.

The training for truck drivers will be from the national organization "Truckers Against Trafficking" and it'll include watching a video and answering questions.  Some states already have this training.  An organization called Polaris has a national hotline to report human trafficking. 

"Drivers have made close to 2,000 calls into the national hotline that has resulted in over 500 potential cases of human trafficking involving over 1,000 victims and over 300 of those are minors," says Kendis Paris with Truckers Against Trafficking.

The human trafficking awareness will, at the very least, remind truckers and bus drivers about the importance of saying...not just thinking...

"There's something going on here, guys," says Brant.

Current CDL drivers must complete this training before they renew their licenses.  Drivers will only have to complete this free training once.

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