Members of the California Trucking Assn. pledged to join a nationwide effort to combat human trafficking, the group’s president announced last week during the annual CTA convention in La Quinta, CA, according to a report in the Desert Sun.

“At the California Trucking Assn., we say that safety is our priority, and that priority drives our members to combat the evils of human trafficking,” said Michael Campbell, CEO.

According to the U.S. State Dept., as many as 600,000 to 800,000 people are victims of trafficking every year, most of them are women and children, who are transported across international borders for the purpose of commercial sex, pornography and other forms of exploitation. Some men are also trafficked, forced into debt bondage or servitude after obtaining assistance from smugglers to gain illegal entry to the United States and other western countries, according to federal officials.

CTA will distribute informational DVDs for its member companies to use during training, orientation and safety seminars, according to the organization. Wallet-size cards will also be provided to members with information about how to recognize trafficking and what to do when it’s suspected.

Kendis Paris, national director of Truckers Against Trafficking, said having the state’s largest trucking association involved in the anti-trafficking campaign will “make a substantial difference.”

“Truckers are the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways,” Paris said. “We’re very excited ... and believe the California trucking industry will do much to put a dent in domestic sex trafficking.”

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