Patrol participates in Human Trafficking Awareness initiative
Colonel Eric T. Olson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, announces the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division will participate in a five-day Human Trafficking Awareness initiative January 9-13, 2023.
This initiative is a concentrated effort to educate commercial motor vehicle drivers, motor carriers, law enforcement officers, and the general public about human trafficking, what signs to look for, and what to do in these situations.
Human trafficking is illegal exploitation of a person through force, fraud, or coercion. It can take the form of sex trafficking, forced labor, or domestic servitude. Human trafficking is not specific to age, race, or gender, and it occurs in rural, suburban, and urban areas across Missouri. The victims of human trafficking are from all socioeconomic backgrounds and levels of education.
Human traffickers are motivated by greed, exploiting the most vulnerable among us for $150 billion annually. This crime is occurring throughout North America and has been reported in every U.S. and Mexican state, and in all Canadian provinces. In addition to being trafficked within their own nation’s borders, our citizens are being exploited across national borders.
“Human trafficking often involves our nation’s transportation systems, including Missouri’s roadways,” said Col. Olson. “Our commercial vehicle drivers, inspectors, law enforcement officers, and the general public need to know what to look for and how to respond to these situations to help rescue the vulnerable people being exploited.”
Signs of human trafficking are not always obvious, and may include:
- The presence of an older “boyfriend” or “girlfriend;”
- Travel with an older male/female who isn’t a guardian;
- Signs of psychological coercion, such as depression, anxiety, and/or an overly submissive attitude;
- Lack of control over his/her schedule, money, and/or items proving identification;
- Physical trauma (bruises, cuts, burns, scars);
- Poor health;
- Coached/rehearsed responses to questions;
- Substance abuse or addictions, selling drugs;
Suspected human trafficking can be reported by calling 1-888-373-7888.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol is joining agencies across the United States, Canada, and Mexico for this Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance initiative.
For more news, follow the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Twitter @MSHPTrooperGHQ