The Virginia State Police have partnered with the Department of Homeland Security and the Virginia Trucking Association to help bring an end to human trafficking.
The initiative is called “Operation Safe Passage. ” Launched on Monday at 10 a.m. during a ceremony at the Virginia Welcome Center on I-95 in Caroline County, and set to continue through April 20, Virginia State Police Motor Carrier Safety Troopers will be positioned at various truck stops, motor carrier service centers, and rest areas across the Commonwealth to engage with drivers and distribute educational materials to raise awareness about human trafficking.
During the launch of Operation Safe Passage, Master #Trooper Maxwell was in the spotlight as he handed out educational materials to the truckers passing through the Ladysmith rest area on I-95. The trucking community is a vital partner in combatting human trafficking. pic.twitter.com/N6eOxiwvEw
— VA State Police (@VSPPIO) April 18, 2022
“This is one of the most horrific crimes and number wise, it may be pushing to the top of the more major issues we deal with along with our drug cartels and distribution of that…With tens of thousands of commercial trucks and buses traveling through and across Virginia on any given day, this statewide initiative has extensive, life-saving potential.”
Combating human trafficking in Virginia is something Governor Glenn Youngkin has made a priority for his office, so much so that he issued Executive Order Seven on his first day in office, which established a commission to prevent human trafficking and provide support to victims. Bob Mosier, the Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security praised the program as a positive step in rooting out this “global pandemic.”
Preventing human trafficking and providing support to its victims have been a priority of Governor Glenn Youngkin and his administration since stepping into office in January. I am extremely pleased to see the Virginia State Police taking an aggressive and active stance toward addressing what has become a global pandemic. Virginia has no tolerance for the exploitation of any human being, and is committed to apprehending, prosecuting and bringing to justice anyone associated with this crime.
The operation also partners with the Virginia Trucking Association, who are in a uniquely qualified position to help identify potential victims. Dale Bennett, President and CEO of the Virginia Trucking Association, said 1.3 million truck drivers nationwide have actually been trained on how to identify and report human trafficking. “The men and women in trucking are family, and they have family members and children that could potentially become the victim of this,” said Bennett. “They have a duty to respond to that.”
So if you see the state police near out in full force at truck stops, rest areas and service centers across the commonwealth this week, be sure to stop and find out how you can help potentially save a life.