The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 10

REGULATORYUPDATE
GUEST FEATURE

Combatting Human Trafficking
Through the Bus Industry
by Annie Sovcik, Program Director for Busing on the Lookout

M

otor coaches carry an estimated 86 million
passengers a year in Canada, while yellow school
buses provide daily transportation to an estimated
2.5 million students - more than half of Canada's
school children.1 The bus drivers, terminal workers,
maintenance staff, dispatch operators, etc. who keep Canada's
tourism, public transit and student transportation moving
every day are uniquely positioned to provide an extra set of
eyes and ears for law enforcement in combatting the human
trafficking taking place in Canada.
Busing on the Lookout (BOTL), a program recently
launched by Truckers Against Trafficking, is designed to
empower members of the bus industry with information and
equip them with the tools they need to recognize and report
this heinous crime.
Human trafficking - or modern-day slavery - is the
exploitation of human beings through force, fraud or coercion
for the purposes of commercial sex or forced labor and affects
an estimated 40 million victims globally. A common myth
is that human trafficking is a crime that occurs only in
less developed countries, but that's simply not true. In fact,
thousands of children are enslaved every year in the United
States and Canada. The government of Canada has reported
that more than 90 percent of human trafficking cases in
Canada involve domestic victims.2
While all children are vulnerable to the manipulative and
forceful methods traffickers use, children in foster care, the
homeless, LGBTQ or those who come from abusive homes
are particularly susceptible. For example, in 2017, a study of
homeless youth in the United States and Canada revealed that
19 percent were identified as victims of human trafficking,
while 91 percent had been approached by someone who was
offering them lucrative work opportunities that turned out to
be fraudulent, scams or sex trafficking.3
There are many points of intersection between buses and
human trafficking. Traffickers recruit victims out of bus
terminals and utilize buses in transporting them. When
victims are able to get out, a bus or bus terminal may be the
first place they'll go to find safety or escape. Many tourism
sites where tour and charter buses take passengers - such as
hotels, motels and casinos - are places where trafficking is
known to occur.
Motor coach, public transit drivers and terminal workers
should be on the lookout for signs of control, such as
passengers who are not allowed to speak for themselves or
The Road Explorer

carry their own tickets or identification documents. They
should pay extra attention to passengers who have never met
the person who purchased their ticket for them or minors who
are traveling without adult supervision. Victims may have
markings or tattoos that could be a trafficker's branding, and
a driver or terminal worker could overhear comments about
having a pimp or needing to make a quota.
The sad reality is that traffickers also recruit victims out
of schools, sometimes by compelling another one of their
teenage victims to recruit his or her peers. For example, in
January 2017, CBC News ran a story about Canadian high
school girls being lured into the sex trade.4 In these situations,
some victims will continue attending school during the
day - and riding the school bus - even while they are being
trafficked or groomed at night.
School bus drivers see students almost every day as they
transport them between home and school. They are often
keenly aware of changes in students' behavior, moods or
physical appearance; they take note of frequent absences
and are uniquely positioned to see if new or different people
are waiting to pick up a student at the bus stop or at school
and may even observe signs of controlling or manipulative
behavior. All school personnel should be trained on how
to detect signs of human trafficking - not just school bus
drivers - but the driver is in places that the principal, teachers,
and counselors are not.
Traffickers take their victims wherever they can make
money, and they are counting on people not paying attention
or writing off the person being sold as "just a prostitute." If all
drivers and station employees were trained and knew what to

10

Summer 2018



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Road Explorer - Summer 2018

Industry Voice
Issues Update
Regulatory Update
Marijuana and the Canadian Workplace
The Road Less Taken
Southern Exposure
2018 OMCA Marketplace
UC Coach Lines
Port Stanley Festival Theatre
Travel Highlights Marketplace
Classifieds
Index of Advertisers
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Intro
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - ebelly1
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - ebelly2
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover1
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover2
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 3
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 4
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 5
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 6
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Industry Voice
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 8
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Issues Update
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Regulatory Update
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 11
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Marijuana and the Canadian Workplace
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 13
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - The Road Less Taken
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 15
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 16
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - insert1
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - insert2
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Southern Exposure
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 18
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 2018 OMCA Marketplace
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - UC Coach Lines
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 21
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Port Stanley Festival Theatre
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 23
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Travel Highlights Marketplace
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Classifieds
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Index of Advertisers
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover3
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover4
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