This news release is being disseminated by the Iowa Department of Transportation in cooperation with Truckers Against Trafficking.
ANKENY, Iowa - Oct. 20, 2015 – The Iowa Department of Transportation’s Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement (MVE) and Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) are joining forces to hold a first-ever, quad-state coalition build between key members of law enforcement at every level and management from the trucking/travel plaza industry in the states of Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota to fight human traffickers.
Because traffickers are continually moving their victims from one location to another and across state lines, the relationship between law enforcement and trucking is proving to be a critical component in fighting this crime.
The quad-state coalition build will be held Oct. 27 in Legion Hall in Sioux City, Iowa from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. TAT will be bringing its Freedom Drivers Project to the meeting, a unique 48-foot exhibit that travels the United States educating people about domestic sex trafficking, what the trucking industry is doing to fight it and how individuals anywhere can be involved in combating this issue. While the meeting is closed to all but invitees, the Freedom Drivers Project mobile exhibit will be parked in front of the hall and available for the press to tour before the meeting begins (9-9:45a.m). Event officials will also be available for interviews during this time period.
Quad-state coalition build
TAT has been holding coalition builds in various cities around the nation since 2011, but they’ve been designed to draw participants from within a state or a region of a state. According to post-meeting surveys, the meetings have been deemed highly effective in identifying avenues for better working relationships between law enforcement and trucking, possible solutions to human trafficking activity in an area and ways to deny traffickers the opportunity to continue to exploit their victims.
Iowa MVE Chief Dave Lorenzen and his department have been working with TAT since 2013. Chief Lorenzen, a TAT board member since 2014, and his department members, developed a training model with TAT materials for commercial vehicle enforcement or motor vehicle enforcement officers to use in any state. Called the Iowa MVE model, it is now in partial or full use in 19 states across the country.
“The activities associated with human trafficking are not restricted within the borders of any one state,” said Lorenzen. “There are highly traveled corridors that flow between the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. Taking a few hours to get law enforcement, the trucking industry, prosecutors, victim service providers, truck stop managers and Truckers against Trafficking (TAT) together is valuable in efforts to battle the horrible acts associated with this crime.”
Coalition builds provide human trafficking training, some of it from a human trafficking survivor; connect trucking industry members and law enforcement with local resources in their area to combat human trafficking; provide networking opportunities and honest dialogue between law enforcement and the trucking industry to close loopholes to traffickers; and provide a fuller understanding of what human trafficking looks like in the area, along with the challenges that exist in investigating and prosecuting theses cases, and the need for trucking and LE to work together.
Quad-state coalition build
"TAT's coalition builds continue to prove their worth, as we are seeing entire police departments become trained, carriers and new truck stop chains sign on as TAT partners, and law enforcement and industry stakeholders working together on undercover operations,” stated Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “So, when Chief Lorenzen approached me with the idea of having a quad-state coalition build meeting in Sioux City to bring together key law enforcement and industry leaders, I jumped at the idea. Imagine all state patrol officers, local truck stops, carriers and police jurisdictions in these four states trained and equipped around this topic? We want to close loopholes to traffickers exploiting both victims and legitimate businesses, and these meetings are a significant step in that direction."
For more information, contact Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, at 612-888-4828 or email@example.com.
Truckers Against Trafficking is a 501c3 organization whose mission is to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking industry to fight human trafficking as part of their everyday jobs.