AG Schimel Brings Law Enforcement and Transportation Industry Partners Together to Fight Human Trafficking
MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel today met with partners from law enforcement and the trucking, busing, and transportation industry at Harley-Davidson of Madison to identify new ways to work together to fight against human trafficking. The meeting was hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) and the Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association, and Badger Bus.
“The Wisconsin business community is a strong partner in the fight against human trafficking,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Law enforcement and industries most likely to come across victims stand united in the belief that victims deserve protection and traffickers are not welcome in this state. When people know what to look for and how to report signs of trafficking, we can turn the tables on those who seek to exploit our people and businesses through human trafficking crimes. Traffickers and those who buy sex need to worry about getting caught. More and more people know what to look for and are willing to make a call to law enforcement to stop this victimization”
The meeting with representatives from the transportation industry is the latest in DOJ’s ongoing efforts to partner with businesses and entire industries to engage members of the workforce who are in the position to recognize and report human trafficking as part of their everyday jobs.
Nearly 100 people attended the meeting including leaders from the trucking, busing, truck stop and convenience store industries and law enforcement from 25 jurisdictions around the state. The meeting focused on how members of the transportation industry can help identify and report sex trafficking. TAT is a national anti-trafficking group that has trained hundreds of thousands in the transportation industry, provided information about the dynamics of human trafficking on the roadways, and how truckers and others in the industry can help.
“Connecting key members of the trucking, busing and truck stop industries with law enforcement around human trafficking is what Truckers Against Trafficking is all about,” said Esther Goetsch, TAT Coalition Build Specialist. “By educating those on the front lines – truck drivers, bus drivers and truck stop personnel – on the signs of human trafficking and by equipping them with the tools and resources to report it effectively to law enforcement, they will continue to save lives."
In addition to learning about actual sex trafficking case scenarios and the work being done to stop it, attendees were given resources and asked to educate their employees to maximize efforts to identify victims and bring traffickers to justice.
"Our association is committed to strengthening the coalition against human trafficking in Wisconsin," stated Neal Kedzie, President of the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association. "Educating our members and getting them engaged in the fight is key to helping expose and weed out the bad elements using the trucking industry as a shield to carry out their crimes."
Yesterday, Attorney General Schimel announced a partnership with the Wisconsin State Patrol to identify signs of human trafficking during interactions along the roadway and to increase collaboration when human trafficking is suspected. The state patrol co-hosted Thursday’s event.
“The Wisconsin State Patrol works with DOJ and other law enforcement agencies on a variety of initiatives aimed at enforcing laws and protecting citizens,” said State Patrol Superintendent J.D. Lind. “Our officers undergo extensive, ongoing training to help recognize potentially illegal activities. The men and women of the State Patrol stand ready to do all we can to further the fight against human trafficking.”
The mission of DOJ’s anti-trafficking initiative is to make Wisconsin inhospitable to human traffickers and to support victim-centered strategies and partnerships throughout the state. Statewide enforcement and investigation of human trafficking is lead by the DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation Human Trafficking Bureau, created by Attorney General Schimel in 2017, to identify, target, and prosecute traffickers and provide needed assistance to survivors.
In addition to its focus on the transportation industry, DOJ has worked with hotels, casinos, mall security, community groups and criminal justice partners to increase awareness about how to recognize and report human trafficking. In 2018 to date, DOJ has provided in person training to over 3,200 people and thousands more have received information in print, webinars and electronically.
See attached TAT Facts 2018 for more information about Truckers Against Traffickers. For more information about human trafficking in Wisconsin, go to www.BeFreeWisconsin.com.