Sioux Falls, SD
South Dakota truckers are being asked to help end sex trafficking.
South Dakota has become the 14th state to adopt the ‘Truckers Against Trafficking’ program.
Recently, the South Dakota U.S. Attorney formed a task force to tackle the problem of sex trafficking in the state, and often times sex traffickers target truckers at travel plazas as prime customers.
"The trucking industry is absolutely targeted," Rick Hoogendoorn, chairman of the South Dakota Trucking Association, said.
That's exactly why South Dakota is now joining in the ‘Truckers Against Trafficking’ effort.
"I just thought here's something that we could really get involved in, in really rescuing and saving lives," Ann Tschetter with Thermal King and the South Dakota Trucking Association said.
More than a dozen states have already endorsed the effort and South Dakota is hoping to raise awareness among its truckers and provide them with a window sticker with a phone number to call if they see this type of activity.
"We want to tell them what to recognize, what to look for, and then what information they have to collect before they make that 800 call," Myron Rau President of the South Dakota Trucking Association said.
Officials say just that information alone could help curb the problem.
"They're going to think twice about what truck they send one of those young ladies to because that truck may drive a phone call immediately, and it in itself could definitely help curb the problem," Hoogendoorn said.
By giving South Dakota truckers this information, organizers believe they can have an impact wherever they are hauling across the country.
"I know when they are armed with the truth, and they are aware of the situation and what they can do about it with an anonymous phone call, I have faith they're going to make a difference. That they are going to refuse to do nothing," Tschetter said.