Bipartisan support for bill to educate and empowers commercial truck drivers
AUGUSTA – A bill introduced by Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, D-Freeport that would educate truck drivers to spot the warning signs of human trafficking and empower them to report suspicious activity to law enforcement has earned unanimous support in the Maine House and Senate and is on its way to the governor’s desk for signature. With an estimated 300 cases of trafficking in Maine annually, Gideon believes a comprehensive anti-trafficking approach will involve collaboration by multiple stakeholders.
“As alarming as it sounds, human trafficking is a serious and growing problem in the United States, and unfortunately, right here in Maine,” said Gideon. “Members of the trucking industry and individual truckers are an invaluable resource in the fight against this heinous crime. I am proud of the bipartisan support taken by my colleagues to address this issue.”
Speaker Gideon’s bill – LD 1277 “An Act to Combat Human Trafficking by Requiring Prevention Training for Commercial Drivers” – gives drivers the tools they need to identify and combat trafficking on our roadways. By working with national organizations, including, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT),the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will now present anti-trafficking information to commercial driver’s license holders when their licenses are issued or renewed.
“We need to use every tool available to respond to this issue,” said Gideon. “This bill provides education and awareness to those who can stop this crime in its tracks. If this legislation encourages even one trucker to make a call that rescues someone from harm, it was the right thing to do.”
The legislation has the support of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Maine Motor Transport Association and the Secretary of State and Bureau of Motor Vehicles.