Bill combating human trafficking detailed

October 25, 2017

Mark Schremmer


A recently filed report from Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., provided some details regarding a bill that would designate a human trafficking prevention coordinator within the Department of Transportation.

The Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act, or S1536, was introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., in July and passed the Senate in September. On Oct. 23, Sen. Thune filed a written report on the bill from the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

According to the report, the bill would make the human trafficking prevention coordinator responsible for managing prevention efforts across the modal administrations within the DOT and with other departments and agencies, particularly those tailored to the transportation sector.

In addition, the bill would expand the scope of activities authorized under the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration outreach and education program to include human trafficking prevention activities and provide eligibility under the FMCSA commercial driver’s license grant program to support the recognition, prevention and reporting of human trafficking.

“Finally, S1536 would create an advisory committee on human trafficking within the DOT, responsible for issuing legislative and administrative recommendations to the DOT while serving in an advisory capacity to state and local government agencies on human trafficking prevention strategies in the transportation sector,” the report stated.

Sen. Thune also sponsored S1532, which would impose a lifetime ban on truck drivers who use a commercial motor vehicle to commit a felony involving human trafficking.

Truckers Against Trafficking issued a statement in July, saying the organization didn’t support the lifetime ban on truck drivers but that it did support S1536.

“We are fully aware that trucking is one of the most over-regulated industries, and that you cannot legislate the mind and heart,” Truckers Against Trafficking wrote. “We also recognize that both sides of the aisle are coming together around this issue, and therefore it is imperative that we try and work with them to form the legislation being proposed so that it does take into consideration the needs and concerns of the industry.

“To date, the only federal bill we have given our support to is (S1536), which would designate a human trafficking prevention coordinator at the U.S. Department of Transportation, increase outreach, education and reporting efforts at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and provide CDL schools who are implementing anti-trafficking education additional financial assistance. This bill only incentivizes training at the federal level. It does not mandate it.”

Both bills would still need to pass through the House.


Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.