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UPS delivery drivers trained on how to spot signs of sex trafficking: ‘Issue impacts everyone’

UPS (Getty Images)

ATLANTA — Workers at the UPS Atlanta Regional Hub started their day a little differently Thursday. Jan. 23. They got a glimpse into some important training all drivers will get — how to spot potential cases of sex trafficking.

UPS executives gathered employees to announce the company is strengthening its commitment to anti-human trafficking awareness and training by empowering drivers to help be the “eyes and ears” of the community.

“It puts a different layer on their relationship that we have with our drivers, to understand it’s not just about the company,” said Danelle McCusker Rees, Human Resources President for UPS’s domestic operations. “It’s not just about our employees, but it’s truly about our community. This issue impacts everyone.”

UPS had already trained its freight drivers on how to spot signs of sex trafficking. Now, they’re training the drivers who actually go into neighborhoods. To implement the training, the company teamed up with the organization Truckers Against Trafficking.

Helen Van Dam runs the organization’s Freedom Drivers Project. She said traffickers are counting on the ignorance of the general public.

“They’re counting on everyone thinking that the person they’re selling is just a prostitute, just a hooker,” said Van Dam, adding that many times, it’s not voluntary — the victim has been forced into sex slavery.

Van Dam said drivers will be trained on signs of sex trafficking such as “branding” tattoos on victims.

“It could be the pimp’s moniker, could be ‘Daddy,’ ‘Moneymaker,’” she said.

In the end, more than 130,000 UPS drivers nationwide will be trained.

To kick off the campaign, drivers received cards with the national hotline number which trainers hope drivers will keep with them on their routes.

“Put it in their wallet,” said Van Dam. “Put it in their visor, wherever it’s going to help remind them that they have a role to play that maybe no one else is going to play in that person’s life.”

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