Busing On The Lookout program seeks to educate drivers on human trafficking

Annie Sovcik, the Program Director for Busing on the Lookout (BOTL)

 

Although the scourge of modern-day human trafficking has only gained media attention in the last decade or so, it has existed in the United States -- and around the world -- for much, much longer.

What makes human trafficking so insidious is its subversive nature -- on the surface, a person may appear to be going about their daily activities as usual, but underneath, they may be under the control of another person.

According to this 2018 ydr.com story, "Human trafficking is the carbon monoxide of crimes — difficult to detect, but extremely damaging to its victims and communities if unchecked ... Victims are often community members, although some are foreign-born and brought into the country through sham marriages and other means."

The non-profit PolarisProject.org states that "In 2018, Polaris worked on 10,949 cases of human trafficking reported to the Polaris-operated U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline. These cases involved 23,078 individual survivors; nearly 5,859 potential traffickers and 1,905 trafficking businesses. Human trafficking is notoriously underreported. Shocking as these numbers are, they are likely only a fraction of the actual problem."

One major operation that brought the issue to the forefront of people's hearts and minds was a federal investigation in 2005 -- where agents uncovered a complex web of massage parlors and individuals who would traffic women between them -- that stretched along the East Coast.

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The good news is that in recent years, additional time, money, effort and resources have been allocated in the fight against human trafficking and major arrests have been made.

Programs to educate the public about human trafficking and how to spot it have risen up, including Truckers Against Trafficking and its off-shoot program, Busing on the Lookout.

According to BOTL's website, "When building an army to fight a crime like human trafficking, the bus industry has a key role to fill. Through their sheer numbers, extensive travels, and the nature of their jobs, members of the bus industry — commercial and school — are uniquely positioned to provide an extra set of eyes and ears for law enforcement in recovering victims and arresting traffickers."

The two programs are highlighted in a blog on the Smart Horizons' School Training Solutions website, which encourages everyone to sign up for BOTL: "This is a free training program and certification that should be completed by, frankly, everyone – especially if you frequently travel, are involved in the transportation industry, or are around children."

Learn more about BOTL here.

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*** As front-line professionals, security officers should be on the lookout for human trafficking too. The Blue Campaign, "One Voice. One Mission. End Human Trafficking" was established by The U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Click this link to see several helpful videos. ***

 

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By |2020-01-19T21:06:29-05:00January 19th, 2020|News|Comments Off on Busing On The Lookout program seeks to educate drivers on human trafficking

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