INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana lawmakers want to train new truck and bus drivers to spot signs of human trafficking.
House Bill 1196 would require anyone applying for a commercial driver’s permit or license to learn the signs of potential human trafficking and how to report them. They would have to watch a nearly 30-minute video from the organization Truckers Against Trafficking.
According to the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking (ICESAHT), the Hoosier State’s location and major highways make it more likely that victims are being transported through.
“As a state, we’re aware of it legislatively,” said State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville), who introduced the proposal. “I think the education piece will need to continue.”
McNamara said she believes that kind of awareness is one of the most effective ways to help victims and reduce the problem.
“They are our eyes and our ears across the state of Indiana as well as the nation,” she said of truck drivers.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that truck stops are a location where trafficking is identified,” said Gary Langston, president of the Indiana Motor Truck Association.
Langston, who testified in support of the bill Tuesday, said truck drivers want to help.
“If you haven’t had that training, the chances of you doing something are much less,” he said.
Although a senate committee voted unanimously to advance the bill, State Sen. Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville) raised questions about how effective it could be as drivers wouldn’t be required to report suspicious behavior.
“If they don’t have to do anything, then what’s the accomplishment here?” Tomes said.
“If we can touch one life and touch one person through education to help eradicate human trafficking, then we’ve saved that one life,” McNamara said.
The bill received unanimous support in the House. It now heads to the Senate floor.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline connects survivors to support services. To get help or report potential human trafficking, you can call the hotline at 1-888-373-7888.