AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The men and women most often on Texas roadways are now being asked to help combat human trafficking.
Texas attorney General Ken Paxton just announced a new partnership between the state and two organizations, as he says his office has made it a priority to battle human trafficking, what he calls modern-day slavery.
Truck stops are one of the most popular areas for human traffickers to deal. Now the state is asking for the help of those who most frequent the areas to help fight the issue.
Truckers Against Trafficking and the Texas Trucking Association are now partnering with Texas, as extra sets of eyes around the state.
"For years this has been something that has been a plague on the industry," says President of the Texas Trucking Association John Esparza. "It's prevalent in trucking parking lots across the country."
"That's such a huge area that's targeted," says Traci Rogers with No Boundaries Amarillo. "We know from our experience, we have one of our friends that that was her first experience with human trafficking when her mom sold her at a truck stop for five hundred dollars. and she was twelve years old."
It's happening all around the country, even right here in Amarillo. There have been more than three hundred cases reported in Texas so far this year, and more than 1400 calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. This puts Texas in second place for most cases, just behind California.
"As truckers, we have a unique perch, we have a unique perspective to be able to assist perhaps in ways if we're well trained if we're aware, if we're educated," says Esparza.
This initiative will teach truckers what signs to be on the lookout for.
"Anytime they see these girls that aren't allowed to talk, they've always got someone with them, they don't have any kind of identification, maybe they don't even speak English, they don't have any paper work, they don't have anything to say who they are or where they came from."
Truckers Against Trafficking tells us this is so important because at any given time there are more truck drivers out on the roads than there are law enforcement. And they like being those extra sets of eyes.
The number for the hotline is 1 (888) 373-7888