FedEx joins battle against human trafficking

FedEx is joining the movement to end the trucking industry’s role in human trafficking.

RELATED: Arkansas teen in danger after leaving home, search underway

The shipping company said it will train its freight drivers to spot victims in need of help, according to a company spokesperson.

The announcement comes as officials in Arkansas search for 16-year-old Arissa Farmer. Police in her hometown of Truman found evidence on the teen’s computer that suggests Farmer was groomed and lured from her home by a sex trafficker.

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"By educating our team members on what to watch for and empowering them to take a stand, we are committed to making a difference on this issue," Mike Ducker, a FedEx executive, said in a written statement this week.

FedEx is partnering with the nonprofit group "Truckers Against Trafficking" to educate team members of FedEx Freight.

Rachel Haaga empowers victims of human trafficking as the executive director of Restore Corps.

“A lot of studies show there is a higher incidence of trafficking where there is a transient male population,” Haaga said, describing the need for education about human trafficking in the trucking industry.

“Everyone’s just sitting on the lot,” Haaga added. “It gives you a lot of time, if you’re willing to pay attention, to scan your surroundings and be attentive to what’s going on.”

Gary Adams was washing his 18-wheeler at the Love’s Travel Stop on Lamar Avenue, when FOX13 spoke with him Tuesday.

"We see that stuff all the time," Adams said. "It's not right. Everybody's got a human right to be their own self."
With more than 45 years of experience in the trucking industry, Adams said most truckers become witnesses of human trafficking.

Adams doesn’t drive for FedEx, but he said his company has offered similar training.

“If you see it, you usually get a license tag number or something like that,” Adams said. “You inform (the police), and then let them put it through the airways.”

Haaga said training and education can save lives, and it can help transform the trucking industry’s reputation as it relates to human trafficking.

“Overwhelmingly the response (from survivors) has been, ‘Had truckers been trained differently, I might have been rescued sooner,’” Haaga said.