Truckers Work to Stop Human Trafficking - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Truckers Work to Stop Human Trafficking

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Business has boomed in North Dakota, and so has the number of truck drivers moving goods and oil across the state. Now, the North Dakota Motor Carriers Association (NDMCA) wants those drivers to be on the lookout for some serious criminals.

The group is partnering with the national non-profit Truckers Against Trafficking to make North Dakota truckers aware of the issue of human trafficking.

"We've heard reports about increased human trafficking coming through this area, and North Dakota recently had its first conviction for human trafficking," says NDMCA Executive Vice-President Arik Spencer. "We thought this was a good partnership to have."

The NDMCA invited the group to speak at its Oilfield Trucking Convention in Dickinson this week. The goal is to educate truckers, and others in the industry, about how to identify, report and stop human trafficking.

"We really are the eyes and ears of the nation's highways," says Spencer.

Spencer says truck drivers are the ideal group to help combat trafficking because there are more than 3.1 million truck drivers in the U.S. who cover more than 400 billion miles a year. In addition, many traffickers bring their victims to truck stops because of the environment.

"Truckers come and go, it's transient, no one can really build relationships," says executive director Kendis Paris, Truckers Against Trafficking. "So this is an industry that literally has a unique advantage in that they are going to be able to recognize and identify and assist victims."

Attendees of the convention said they were interested to know more about how they could help.

"It's important for all of us to listen so that we understand the problem, and only if we understand can we then do our part to notice it, to report it, and to hopefully help stop it," said Dixon Insurance President Melissa Dixon, who provides insurance for truckers in North Dakota.

The Oilfield Trucking Convention continues in Dickinson on Wednesday.

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