MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey ceremoniously signed House Bill 261 into law on last week. This makes Alabama the ninth state to pass a law mandating human trafficking training for new CDL drivers.
HB261 requires all new commercial driver licensees to undergo industry-specific human trafficking training. Truckers Against Trafficking is a national organization that trains truckers on identifying human trafficking victims in their daily work life. The organization will work with junior colleges and trade schools to facilitate the training.
Alabama Assistant Minority Leader, Rep. Merika Coleman (D-Birmingham) sponsored the bill with Education Policy Chair, Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur). Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham) and Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) guided the bill through the Senate.
“Professional truck drivers are in a critical position to recognize human trafficking and to know how to respond when properly equipped,” said Kylla Lanier, Deputy Political Director of Truckers Against Training. “It is phenomenal that Alabama has decided to educate and empower the next generation of professional drivers at the CDL school level with anti-trafficking training!”
“This is another step in expanding the tools in the toolbox to combat human trafficking,” stated Rep. Merika Coleman. “I want to thank the House co-sponsor Rep. Terri Collins, Senate sponsor Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, and Senate co-sponsor Sen. Cam Ward.”
“I look forward to continuing this bi-partisan work next year, perhaps following Florida’s lead in requiring human trafficking awareness in schools,” added Coleman. The Alabama legislature unanimously passed two bi-partisan human trafficking bills this session: HB261 & HB262 and two House Joint Resolutions: HJR145 and HJR244. HB262 was pocket-vetoed by Governor Ivey after her team discovered a clerical error in a late addition amendment.
Coleman expects to re-introduce the bill next session. HB262 clarifies existing law to prohibit publishing photos of those charged with the act of prostitution, while allowing for publishing photos of those charged with soliciting or procuring prostitution. The bill is aimed at deterring john’s from purchasing sex and supporting human trafficking while protecting potential victims of human trafficking from public identification.
HJR145 encourages Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) to continue developing curricula to ensure that every law enforcement officer and agent in the state is trained in human trafficking victim identification.