Panama City, FL –
JACKSON COUNTY, FL (WMBB) – January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month and the Florida Highway Patrol has set up a special operation.
FHP officials said people generally don’t do the work they do under the radar to prevent human trafficking. This month, they’re sharing what they know with the many truck drivers who travel the I-10.
“These guys go millions of miles and stop and go places we never go and they see a lot more,” said Jason King, FHP public affairs manager. “They are able to identify the signs of human trafficking faster than us, based on their movements, and they can report and that will help save lives.”
This special operation requires numerous routine shutdowns over a three-day period that began on Tuesday.
Soldiers make sure vehicles operate within federal highway carrier standards, check trucks for unauthorized passengers, and distribute information cards in case anyone sees anything suspicious.
“In order for a person to drive in a commercial vehicle, there must be an authorization letter on the carrier’s file that authorizes that person to be in the vehicle with the driver,” said FHP State Trooper Bobby Simmons.
Stops can take from 15 to 45 minutes depending on the “stopping level”. Level three stops are the shortest and are used when there is only one driver in the car.
Simmons said the vehicles they stop are completely random. Although state soldiers found no signs of human trafficking in the first two days of their detachment, they sensitized many drivers.
There are red flags that soldiers are looking for to identify human trafficking.
If someone seems restricted or controlled when they try to speak, then they may be a victim. In addition, to speak on the radio of a “commercial enterprise” is sometimes the code of trafficking in human beings.
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