In a U.S. Senate press release published on Friday, Senator John Thune applauded the Senate’s passage of his No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act (S. 1532), and the Combatting Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act (S. 1536).
This new legislation has the potential to strip a driver of his CDL for life.
Thune is the cosponsor for both bills, along with Senators Amy Klobuchar and Bill Nelson, designed to combat human trafficking. These bills were introduced on July 12, 2017, and did not take long to pass. The bills passed on September 14, 2017.
The votes in favor for each bill were unanimous.
Thune commented saying, “The Senate’s passage of these bipartisan bills is an important step in the ongoing battle against human trafficking. These bills create a common-sense consequence for egregious wrongdoing and serve as a starting point for better recognition and reporting of human trafficking by commercial drivers.”
No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act
Under this legislation, if a driver were to commit a felony involving human trafficking, they will no longer be able to operate a commercial vehicle for the remainder of their lifetime.
Combatting Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act
This bill would establish a human trafficking prevention coordinator at the DOT and would increase anti-human trafficking education and outreach by the FMCSA.
OOIDA and TAT Strongly Oppose
Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) strongly oppose these newly passed bills. OOIDA opposes the bills based on the belief that the laws unfairly target the trucking industry.
TAT writes, “We are fully aware that trucking is one of the most over-regulated industries, and that you cannot legislate the mind and heart … To date, the only federal bill we have given our support to is Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s bill (S1536), which would designate a human trafficking prevention coordinator at the U.S. DOT, increase outreach, education and reporting efforts at the FMCSA, and provide CDL schools who are implementing anti-trafficking education additional financial assistance. This bill only incentivizes training at the federal level; it does not mandate it.”
In April, there was a law enacted in Arkansas that would allow drivers to take human trafficking training online for free. This law made it mandatory for any driver that wished to obtain or renew their CDL to complete the course. Read more about it here.
Human Trafficking: An Ever Emergent Problem
Polaris, a leader in the global fight to educate and help prevent human trafficking and modern slavery, reported, “Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human traffickers generate hundreds of billions of dollars in profits by trapping millions of people in horrific situations around the world, including here in the U.S. Traffickers use violence, threats, deception, debt bondage, and other manipulative tactics to force people to engage in commercial sex or to provide labor or services against their will.”
In relation to the trucking industry, it is not uncommon for drivers to knowingly or unknowingly become involved in human trafficking.
Just last month, there were at least 3 cases of human trafficking related to trucking in South Texas in the span of 3 weeks. Read more here.
According to The International Labour Organization (ILO), the newest global estimate of forced labor has reached 20.9 million victims.
Lifetime CDL Ban
The strict guidelines set forth by these bills have the potential to ban drivers from operating a commercial vehicle whether or not they were aware of the trafficking.