United Family trains truck drivers to spot human trafficking - FOX34 Lubbock

United Family trains truck drivers to spot human trafficking

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Cash Eagan, general manager of Llano Logistics, speaks to truck drivers during the 'Truckers Against Trafficking' training session on Thursday,  January 16, 2020. Cash Eagan, general manager of Llano Logistics, speaks to truck drivers during the 'Truckers Against Trafficking' training session on Thursday, January 16, 2020.
LUBBOCK, Texas -

Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation, and it is happening in the South Plains.

To help fight back, Llano Logistics, the distribution center for United Family stores, hosted a training session for its employees through "Truckers Against Trafficking." It is a non-profit that teaches trucker drivers on stopping the crime.

Cash Eagan, the general manager of Llano Logistics, said the purpose of this training is to teach drivers how to identify the signs trafficking while out on the road.

"Looking for motor homes, RVs, young girls, money being passed back and forth, you know, looking for potentially a child who doesn't match with the adult that they're with," Eagan said.

The drivers who are part of this training will cover 5 million miles this year, Eagan said, going as far east as Dallas-Fort Worth, and as far west as Albuquerque.

"...and one of the things we learned here is that's kind of part of that network where this trafficking is taking place, so having the exposure to it, the knowledge, and our drivers our there in those areas, I think it's a great opportunity to make it a safer place," he said.

Kenneth Castillo, primary prevention coordinator for Voice of Hope Rape Crisis Center, said last year, it identified 60 new cases of human trafficking in Lubbock. That is up from the previous year.

"It's out here. All of our victims are American. This is not something where you think, where folks think these victims are coming in from Mexico, coming in from China, Thailand, no. This is an American grown problem," Castillo said.

One United truck driver, Gary Hansen, said he was surprised to learn how often this happens in the city.

"I didn't realize that Lubbock has such a big problem with all this," Hansen said. "You don't see it as much, but I do know that from the questions, that there is a bigger problem than a lot of people do know."

Hansen added it is the responsibility of not just truck drivers, but everyone to be aware of their surroundings and to help put an end to this crime.

Governor Abbott has proclaimed January Human Trafficking Prevention Month. He said there is still much work to do, but the state will not rest until the "inhumanity" is eradicated.

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