VENICE (CBSMiami) — The Attorney General of Florida has announced the expansion of a program to curb human trafficking, including help from behind the wheel of big rigs.
Ashley Moody made the announcement Thursday in North Venice.READ MORE: 'We Have To Protect People,' Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava Hopes Businesses Will Follow CDC Mask Recommendations
Moody said the state of Florida boasts a hundred percent conviction rate of those charged with human trafficking. She stressed the wider community plays an enormous role in watching out for signs of human trafficking and reporting it to law enforcement.
Moody also said truck drivers who crisscross the state and the country can serve as the eyes and ears of police and help identify potential human traffickers and save lives.
“Make no mistake, truck drivers are on the frontlines of human trafficking, there’s a story of a truck driver who noticed something suspicious at a truck stop about an RV, took the time and made an effort, and had the courage to report that and a young woman who had been held against her will, sexually assaulted and tortured, was saved,” said Moody.
In addition, all employees of the largest private-sector employer in Sarasota County, PGT Innovations, will receive anti-human trafficking training through the Highway Heroes campaign.READ MORE: Aventura Veterinarian Prentiss Madden Pleads Guilty To Receiving, Possessing Child Porn & Creating Animal Crush Video
Highway Heroes is a multifaceted outreach campaign including specialized training, awareness materials, and a website with resources to educate drivers on how to identify victims and report suspected human trafficking.
The campaign started in October 2020 through a partnership between the Florida attorney general’s office and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
“Human trafficking is not just happening in other countries, on the other side of the world. I can give you examples of young people, whose lives, because they had been held against their will as part of a horrific trade, in which their pain and suffering was traded for the profit of a monster,” said Moody.
Commercial truck drivers aren’t the only ones who can help combat human trafficking. Anyone can join the fight by learning how to spot and stop human trafficking at YouCanStopHT.com.MORE NEWS: Broward Reinstates Indoor Mask Mandate For County-Owned Buildings
If you suspect cases of human trafficking, contact local law enforcement and call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1(888) 373-7888.