OTA Applauds Province of Ontario and Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada for Educational Partnership to Combat Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing criminal activities worldwide, and unfortunately Ontario is not immune to its reach. Most reported cases in Ontario involve sexual exploitation, which may also be referred to as sex trafficking. Young women and girls are particularly at risk, though boys, men and people who identify as 2SLGBTQ+ are also targeted.
One component of Ontario’s broader anti-human trafficking strategy involves raising awareness of the issue through education and training. Earlier this week, with a focus on enlisting the assistance of the trucking industry in the fight against human trafficking, the Province of Ontario and the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada (WTFC) announced the creation of an online program specifically designed to train truck drivers on the skills required to identify the signs of a human trafficking. The Ontario Trucking Association would like to congratulate Shelley Uvanile-Hesch CEO of the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada and Ontario’s Minister of Transportation the Hon. Caroline Mulroney for championing this cause and making this training a reality and available free of charge to the trucking industry.
Timea Nagy, CEO/Founder of the TC Online Institute, and a survivor of human trafficking, explains why our industry needs to get behind this initiative:
When people ask us why we need to train Truck drivers, the answer is simple from our perspective. “If this education was around when we were being trafficked, we could have been saved or rescued much sooner. Being rescued sooner means our traumatic experiences could have been cut in half, means we would have less things to try to heal. We could have had a chance to have a nice life at 30 instead of 40 or 50 years of age. And to us it is a huge difference.”
The Ontario Trucking Association believes the industry is uniquely positioned to assist in the fight against human trafficking. Combined, there are hundreds of thousands of truck drivers on the road each day and in every community who can help. With every new driver trained, it means another set of eyes working to eliminate human trafficking. There has even been some recent discussion around making this type of training, part of the entry level training standard (MELT).
“With member feedback OTA will work with MTO, WTFC and other stakeholders, to discuss moving forward with integrating human trafficking training into MELT,” said OTA CEO and President Stephen Laskowski. “If we can save individuals from being exposed to human trafficking, and we have a ready-made training program that can be applied to new industry members or long-standing veterans alike that will help us achieve this goal; then let’s do it.”
To learn more about the Survivor-led Human Trafficking Detection Training available free of charge, go to https://truckingns.skillspass.com or contact WTFC at http://www.wtfc.ca/. The program consists of four modules totaling just over an hour to complete.