The same Canadian highways that serve as corridors for freight are also used to move the victims of human trafficking. But a new online training resource is engaging the truckers who travel these routes in the fight against the crime.
“This survivor-led human trafficking online training for professional drivers will help assist drivers in knowing what to look for and how they can help eradicate this heinous crime,” said Shelley Uvanile-Hesch, CEO of the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada.
The federation, working with $47,000 in provincial funding and support from the Trucking Human Resources Sector Council – Atlantic, helped establish the training that will be available through providers such as CarriersEdge and the Ontario Safety League.
While the crime is not unique to Ontario, the province accounted for 1.6 human trafficking incidents per 100,000 residents in 2016.
“Our 400-Series highways are hotbeds of trafficking movement – allowing traffickers to transport victims between cities and towns throughout the province,” said Mississauga Centre MPP Natalia Kusendova.
She will lend her own voice to a French version of the training material that is voiced in English by Timea Nagy, a human trafficking survivor.
“Being on the front lines of Ontario’s highways, our friends in the trucking industry play a crucial role in identifying the signs of human trafficking, and assisting law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice,” Kusendova said.
The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is already throwing its support behind the initiative, pledging to help put material in the hands of the province’s truck drivers.