Wednesday, April 18, 2018
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today signed a bill targeted at preventing human trafficking.
House Bill (HB) 2651 permits Oklahoma’s public safety commissioner to choose training material from Truckers Against Human Trafficking for education purposes for drivers applying for Class A, B or C commercial licenses. The material includes training on recognizing, preventing and reporting human trafficking. The public safety commissioner is required to regularly review and update the training to ensure it is up to date on changes and trends in human trafficking.
HB 2651, authored by Rep. Steve Vaughan, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, and Senate Majority Whip Frank Simpson, passed unanimously in both the House of Representatives and Senate. It takes effect Nov. 1.
“This is an effective and efficient way to make our commercial drivers more aware about signs of human trafficking and how to report,” said Fallin. “By understanding the signs and symptoms of trafficking, they can help our law enforcement stop human trafficking on our highways and in our community. Our state’s location as a crossroads positions the Oklahoma City metropolitan area as a hotbed for human trafficking activity. The intersections of major interstate highways like I-35, I-40 and I-44 mean human traffickers move sex slaves and others involved in forced labor through Oklahoma City.”
“Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in our country and Oklahoma is a prime target,” Simpson said. “Truck stops are the perfect place for traffickers to move their goods and as transfer points for transporting their victims. If trained in what to look and listen for as well as what to do, truckers can be instrumental in recognizing and stopping these crimes.”
“Oftentimes we overlook the importance of how many trucks travel our roads and highways every day,” Vaughan said. “Because of this bill, inside every cab of those trucks is a trucker who has become more aware of human trafficking. It is great to have eyes in the cab and boots on the ground to help eliminate this problem. I was pleased to be asked to author this bill on the House side for the people of the great state of Oklahoma.”