Naperville, Illinois-based specialty food distributor KeHE has formed a partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking to combat human trafficking. The firm, which operates more than 550 trucks driving 30,000 routes to serve retailers across the U.S., said it will leverage the power of its nationwide team of professional truck drivers.
KeHE said nearly 170,000 people are trafficked every year in the United States, and worldwide, it has become a $32 billion industry. Trafficking has been reported in all 50 states, and as cases of it continually come to light in America, those fighting to end it have learned that victims are often found in locations frequented by truckers.
“Helping to eradicate human trafficking has increasingly become a philanthropic focus for KeHE through partnerships with organizations near and abroad,” says Laura McCord, executive director of sustainability and corporate responsibility at KeHE. “By supporting organizations that focus on rehabilitation of victims, it only made sense for KeHE to expand our reach to help prevent trafficking as well.”
Truckers Against Trafficking is committed to educating drivers to identify signs of human trafficking and how to properly report it to law enforcement officials, KeHE said. The company has helped coordinate the training of more than 600 professional truck drivers nationally. As part of an ongoing partnership, more drivers will continue to be trained throughout the year to spot and report trafficking while on the road.
“This training has promoted a lot of dialog throughout the team about what they’ve seen while on the road,” says Jamie Danielson, safety coordinator at KeHE. “This now gives our drivers the tools to take action and potentially save a life.”
KeHE’s internal foundation, KeHE Cares, has also donated funds to help further Truckers Against Trafficking’s cause. Training provided by the firm is free.