Alberta truckers enlisted to fight human trafficking
'Truck drivers are the eyes and ears on the road,' says human trafficking coalition
An Alberta group is enlisting truckers across the province to help fight human trafficking.
"We spend a lot of hours each day," says trucker Nate Rice at an Edmonton truck stop. "Anywhere from five to 13 hours each day on the road. If anyone is going to see stuff, truckers are most likely to be the ones to see it."
Alberta Coalition on Human Trafficking, a nonprofit group funded by the province, is distributing pamphlets and CDs at truck stops across the province this summer.
Human trafficking is defined as one person recruiting or concealing another person for the purpose of exploiting them sexually or for labour.
The group said reports of human trafficking have jumped dramatically in Alberta over the last year.
"Truck drivers are the eyes and ears on the road," said Andrea Burkhart, executive director. "They're out on the highways they may be taking the same route that traffickers are also taking.
"They may be coming into contact with victims of trafficking and they may not be identifying it or they may not know how to respond to it."
With files from CBC's Kristina Partsinevelos