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Iowa DOT to combat the trafficking of human beings

iowadotlogoANKENY, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Transportation is partnering with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) to combat the trafficking of human beings.

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that between 100,000 and 300,000 American children are at risk to enter the sex for sale industry each year. That estimate does not include the 17,500 foreign nationals trafficked into this country each year, many of these also end up in the sex trade. According to the U.S. DOJ, human trafficking is a $32 billion a year industry, the second most lucrative crime in the world.

The Iowa DOT’s Office of Motor Vehicle law enforcement officers have been trained on the issue and informational materials for professional drivers are available in all state scale sites. Iowa DOT’s MVE Chief David Lorenzen stated, “Our agency has daily contact with the trucking industry. We fully embrace the efforts of TAT and will continue to work with them to get the information out to all professional drivers. Working together we can make a difference and curb this criminal activity.”

In addition to the materials being placed at scale sites, posters will be hung and handout material available in all of Iowa’s interstate rest areas. In addition, the Iowa DOT is working with the Iowa Motor Truck Association to visit with truck stop operators to have materials placed in their facilities. Nationally, four stings by the Federal Bureau of Investigation between 2003 and 2009 targeted truck stops, where more than 500 children were rescued, millions of dollars recovered and perpetrators arrested.

The Iowa DOT became involved in the issue when the Iowa Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, initiated a working group to aggressively address this issue in Iowa. Chief Lorenzen participates with this Human Trafficking Enforcement and Prosecution Initiative.

The TAT program began in March 2009 as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking industry of the critical role they can play in fighting one of the most lucrative and destructive crimes in the United States and globally.

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