MADISON, Ala. - Alabama is working to fight human trafficking. Anyone who gets a commercial drivers license will be required to undergo industry-specific human trafficking training. One truck driving school instructor thinks this is steering the state in the right direction.
Kevon Kirkpatrick has been in the trucking industry his entire adult life. "My major in college was traffic and transportation."
He owns CDL Southern Training School LLC and teaches future drivers. He tells them about the dangers that lurk on the open road.
"You'll hear it on the CB more than anything," he said.
What he's talking about is a person soliciting sex for money.
"Past any rest area, truck stop, anything like that, any place a truck would stop, even at customer's, they would be soliciting. It's everywhere," he said.
Kirkpatrick has recently learned more about human trafficking and admits that he didn't realize at the time that the people soliciting could have been human trafficking victims.
"I'm really surprised I guess, how naive I was," he said.
That's why lawmakers are pushing to raise awareness. A new law requires commercial drivers to go through training to spot human trafficking.
Truckers Against Trafficking will work with trade schools and community colleges to facilitate the training.
According to the Alabama Trucking Association, 10,000 Alabama based drivers have already been certified in the TAT program and a spokesperson for the organization says they are glad to see it become part of the CDL process.
So is Kirkpatrick.
"With this law, it should make other people more aware of it and it's hard to have a criminal enterprise when everyone is aware of what you're doing," he explained.
He thinks this law could sound the alarm on traffickers and pump the brakes on this illegal activity.
This law will go into effect on January first of next year.