Monday, January 11, 2021

Logistics Group Partners Up With NGO to Combat Human Trafficking

Plans To Offer Training Across North America and Europe
Shipping News Feature

US – UK – XPO Logistics has announced it is entering into a new partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) to further the company's stance against human trafficking. To this end the company is donating $25,000 in corporate sponsorship to help fund TAT’s efforts to eradicate trafficking by training commercial drivers to recognize potential traffickers and victims, as well as encouraging their drivers in the United States and Europe to undertake training courses.

“Every day, vulnerable individuals fall prey to human trafficking and many are taken far from their homes,” said LaQuenta Jacobs, XPO’s chief diversity officer.

“The transportation industry is in a unique position to alert law enforcement agencies to suspected trafficking activities. We’re proud to support TAT in taking practical measures to end modern-day slavery.”

XPO Logistics is the latest big freight company to commit to TAT. To date the organisation’s no-cost education program has trained over 975,000 truck and bus drivers to spot the signs of trafficking. Thousands of drivers have called the hotline, resulting in the recovery of hundreds of victims.

The company already has measures in place to combat the scourge of human trafficking. In the UK, a Countering Modern Slavery module is available to all XPO employees and mandatory for managers, whilst in North America, the company introduced TAT training for less-than-truckload drivers and staff in 2020. It expects to make similar e-learning available to all employees this year.

“One of our goals is to train thousands of XPO colleagues to become TAT ambassadors and help create awareness at events around the country,” Jacobs said.

The International Labour Organization estimates that more than 40 million adults and children are victims of human trafficking. High-risk groups include runaway or homeless youths, foreign nationals and individuals who have experienced trauma in the past. However not all those who hide out in trucks are unwilling participants.

There has been criticism in the past of the UK policy which can see drivers who are found to have inadvertently carried stowaway migrants hiding inside lorries entering via Channel ports fined £2,000 per person discovered. This in addition to a similar penalty for the haulage company. In 2017 prosecutions rose 12%, seeing over 3,500 civil penalties handed to drivers with fines totalling £7.8 million.

The legislation ‘Civil Penalties for Clandestine Entrants’ has been accused of being unfair, with cases of drivers advising the authorities that they feared they were carrying stowaways after detecting movement, yet still facing fines.