COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A national group is trying to get people not to ignore prostituted persons as simply sex workers, but to see them as potential victims of human trafficking.
The group Truckers Against Trafficking trains truck drivers–and others–about how to spot this modern day slavery.
Human trafficking is a scourge that impacts almost every single one of our communities, and Thursday politicians and law enforcement learned some of the things to look for so that they can identify it and how they can use their influence to stop it.
“We don’t want to think about something that is so terrible, but not thinking about it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist,” said Helen Van Dam with Truckers Against Trafficking.
Ohio has been a hotbed of human trafficking in recent years and U.S. Senator Rob Portman has been leading the charge against it in Washington D.C. by passing legislation.
Thursday, Portman’s Southeast District Director Jamie Barker sat in on the presentation at the Kenworth plant in Chillicothe.
“Our biggest thing is keeping updated on the trends and what’s going on,” said Barker.
A representative from Governor DeWine’s administration was also there, as was Luke Feeney, the Mayor of Chillicothe.
“It’s not that big of an ask to say just be aware; be aware what’s happening in your community. If something doesn’t quite look right there’s no harm in calling 9-1-1 and if you were wrong and there wasn’t a problem, so be it; but if you were right, you just saved somebody’s life and I think that that’s a big deal,” said Feeney.
Van Dam says anyone can help curb human trafficking from truckers to politicians, to you and me.
“I think each person keeping their eye out, making that call, even if it may not seem like a big difference, it really is; and it’s all of us taking those little steps where we are, where we have influence, that’s really going to change this and change the culture around it,” said Van Dam.
Truckers Against Trafficking provides wallet cards with information about how to spot human trafficking on the inside and on a phone number to a hotline on the front that can be called anytime, day or night.
That hotline number is: 1-888-3737-888 in the United States.
Numbers for Canada (1-800-222-TIPS) and Mexico (01800-5533-000) are also available.
Texting INFO or HELP to 233733 can also result in a response.