Dept. of Transportation permanently bans commercial drivers convicted of human trafficking

PHOTO: At a San Antonio Walmart lot Sunday morning there was Tractor trailer parked with eight bodies and 30 undocumented immigrants severely injured from overheating inside, Photo Date: 7/23/17
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WASHINGTON (WHSV) — The Department of Transportation has announced a new policy permanently banning any driver convicted of human trafficking from ever driving a commercial vehicle again.

According to a press release, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the rule on July 16.

It follows up on the recent passage of the “No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act,” which President Trump signed into law.

The new policy prohibits anyone who has used a commercial motor vehicle in the commission of a felony involving human trafficking from operating any other commercial vehicles for life.

A list of offenses permanently disqualifying people from driving commercial vehicles that require a commercial driver's license already exists, but it did not include human trafficking offenses.

“The commercial motor vehicle industry is uniquely positioned to help detect and report human trafficking, and thankfully professional drivers’ efforts often bring an end to these tragic situations. Sadly, however, some human trafficking activities are facilitated by the use of commercial trucks or buses,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez. “By enforcing a lifetime ban on any CMV driver convicted of severe human trafficking, we aim to deliver a strong and effective deterrent to this abhorrent behavior. If a commercial driver is convicted of using their commercial motor vehicle related to human trafficking—that person will never be driving interstate commercial vehicles again.”

On July 2, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking submitted its final report providing recommendations on actions to help combat human trafficking and best practices for states and local transportation stakeholders in combatting human trafficking.

This policy was among those recommendations.

It's expected to have particular impact in Virginia, which was fourteenth among states for the highest numbers of cases of human trafficking last year. In 2018, there were 98 reported human trafficking cases in Virginia.

In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security identified over 500 victims of human trafficking and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimated 1 out of every 7 runaways were likely victims of child sex trafficking.

You can report human trafficking activity by contacting the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or by sending a text to 233733.