With January recognized as National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) Commercial Driver license (CDL) Program wants the public to be aware of human trafficking in our communities.

The exploitation of trafficked persons through forced labor and commercial sex victimizes 25 million people worldwide of their freedom every year. Human trafficking victims can be of any race, age, gender, nationality, and economic status refuting the myth that trafficking only happens to women, people from other countries, or underprivileged communities. Victims and traffickers can look like everyday people, which increases the importance of bringing awareness to the public to help eradicate this crime in our state, country, and globally.

DDS Commissioner Spencer R. Moore commented, “DDS is pleased to continue to partner with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) and Georgia’s Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force to help educate the public about this rapidly-growing crime.”

In the 2021 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report, the United States, Mexico, and Honduras were the top three countries of origin for victims trafficked in the U.S. Trafficking happens in every state in the U.S.— with Georgia having one the largest economies in the nation, one of the world’s busiest airports, two ports, and a substantive agriculture sector, placing it one of the top states in the country for human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a lucrative illicit crime that operates like a business generating $150 billion in revenue worldwide annually. The success of its profitability expands beyond the scope of happening solely on street corners. Human trafficking takes many forms and is often hidden in plain sight. Human trafficking intersects across vast industry sectors that range from social media, hospitality, entertainment, health and beauty, financial services, and transportation.

Common areas traffickers use to solicit buyers are locations that are a part of our daily lives when we are on the road—gas stations, rest stops, and truck stops. These locations offer traffickers ambiguity due to their remote location, the transient customer base, and minimal detection. The transportation industry’s response to human trafficking addresses the challenges that allow the crime when not reported to go under the radar. Laws such as the “No Human Trafficking On Our Roads Act” and house bills signed by Governor Kemp, give a lifetime CDL disqualification to an individual from operating a commercial motor vehicle when used to commit human trafficking.

To bring justice to victims and put an end to human trafficking, learn the signs and report suspicious activity to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. The Georgia Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking also has a 24/7 hotline at 1-866-ENDHTGA (1-866-363-4282).