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'Highway Heroes': Attorney General Ashley Moody announces expansion of anti-human trafficking program for truck drivers

PGT Innovations announced it will train 100-percent of its drivers under the program.

VENICE, Fla. — Truck drivers in Florida are on the front lines when it comes to helping spot human trafficking, according to Attorney General Ashley Moody. 

That's why the Sunshine State is expanding and offering training to commercially trained truck drivers, who on average spend 40 to 50 hours a week on the road, on how to help combat the criminal act.

“We need them in our fight. They are our eyes and ears on our highways around this nation and in the state of Florida," Moody said during a press conference Thursday.

Highway Heroes is a program the Attorney General's Office developed with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to help commercially trained truck drivers identify and report human trafficking.

To date, Moody says 4,000 drivers have gone through the Highway Heroes' training. But during Thursday's press conference, Moody announced that that number would be expanding thanks to the help of PGT Innovations. 

The company has agreed to train 100-percent of its truck drivers and all new hires under the Highway Heroes program.

“It’s important that we all do our part in this plague, this menace to our society," PGT Innovations CEO Jeff Jackson said.

Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman expressed his gratitude for the program and the assistance he says it lends to law enforcement trying to combat human trafficking. 

Hoffman added that the training allows more opportunities for human trafficking cases like a recent bust at a "sleazy" Clearwater hotel or the trafficking of young women along I-75 and I-4 to be caught.

“This cannot be tolerated in Florida. It will not be tolerated in Florida," Moody added.

You can learn more about how to spot, stop and report human trafficking online at youcanstopht.com.

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, there is help. The National Human Trafficking Hotline operates a 24-hour hotline and can be reached by phone at 1-888-373-7888, by texting HELP to BeFree (233733), or by chat to talk about your needs, your options, and the resources they have available to help you. 

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