Bill would require truck drivers to get human trafficking training

Bill would require truck drivers to get human trafficking training

When you spend four decades behind the wheel like BCP truck driver Roger Battagler, there’s not much that you haven’t seen.

“If you are an older driver we come from the age of a lot of girls working the truck stops so that kind of started it for everybody,”

According to Battagler, truck stops have improved by hiring guards, creating paid parking lots and putting up fences around the property to keep trouble out. Now he says it’s not only harder to spot the signs but newer drivers don’t have the same instincts to spot when something might be off.

“Your young driver today just coming out of school, he is just worried about getting his truck down the road. It’s (education) something that needs to be instilled on day one,” he said

A new bill introduced by Rep. Joel Kleefisch, would require technical colleges and licensed commercial driving schools to teach drivers the signs of human trafficking to get their license.

“Human trafficking is a massive problem in Wisconsin. With proximity to Chicago and being in the middle of the country, Wisconsin is a hub for human trafficking,” said Kleefisch. “Truckers travel this country, they stop at the truck stops that are often (where) human trafficking takes place. If they know the signs and they know how to get help to those being trafficked they can be a front line tool ending this abhorrent practice,” he explained.

This is a resource Nancy Spelsberg, owner of BCP Transportation, agrees would help drivers before they hit the road.

“There is this whole world that a lot of us aren’t even aware that it exists and a lot of our drivers are seeing this. So, the question is what do you do, what can you do? And a lot of times you might see something, you might not. When it doubt, it is better to do something,” Spelsberg said.

According to Kleefisch, the U.S. Department of Justice and Truckers Against Human Trafficking also support this legislation. The bill is currently being circulated for legislative co-authors.