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Wisconsin State Patrol partners with commercial truck drivers to combat human trafficking

Truck Driver Shortage
Posted at 4:10 PM, Jan 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-16 15:46:06-05

OCONTO COUNTY (NBC 26) — The Wisconsin State Patrol is bringing a new approach to crack down on human trafficking during National Human Trafficking Awareness month held in January.

Most people tend to think that human trafficking is a problem for big cities, or that Wisconsin doesn't have any cases of human trafficking, however, according to numbers in 2021 by the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the hotline received 390 signals in Wisconsin, 111 of which were received by victims or survivors.

But police can’t be everywhere, so they are recruiting commercial truck drivers for help.

Sgt. Andrew Jacobs of the Wisconsin State Patrol says that they have been working with truckers for years on all different types of initiatives.

“They are really our ears on the road, they travel from across the state and even across multiple states, they work all kinds of different hours, and they are at truck stops, so we are trying to work with them,” said Jacobs. “We provide resources, phone numbers, and things to look out for when they are driving around.”

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Commercial Drivers can spend up to 14 hours a day on the road.

As part of their efforts, weighing stations across Wisconsin, inspectors and troopers are armed with hotline cards and bumper stickers with the National Human Trafficking Hotline numbers.

In addition as part of their inspection, each trucker will receive a sex trafficking brief of things to look for and ways to reach out.

The most important information given out to all; if you see something, say something.

To get 24/7 help, the human trafficking hotline can be reached at 1-888-373-7888 or by texting 233733.