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Proposed Indiana bill would provide training to truck and bus drivers to spot human trafficking

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHI) - Law enforcement agencies have long called Indiana high risk for human trafficking with the state's numerous intersection national highways.

Some Hoosier lawmakers and human trafficking awareness advocates hope truck and bus drivers might help spot potential victims and get them help.

Republican Rep. Wendy McNamara, of Evansville, authored legislation that would require people pursuing their commercial driver's licenses or permits to be trained to spot human trafficking. 

"Truckers and bus drivers and anyone who has contact with the public at large, they'll be our eyes. They'll be our ears. They'll be able to help eradicate this even further," said McNamara. 

On Tuesday, the Indiana House Public Health Committee passed House Bill 1196, which would require the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to work with advocacy groups to develop training to recognize, prevent, and report possible signs of human trafficking. The training would be reviewed and updated at least once a year.

Several advocates spoke in favor of the bill during Tuesday's hearing.

"It's not for them to intervene. They're not law enforcement; they aren't those people. But they can certainly identify a lot of things just by keeping their eyes open that they wouldn't normally think about if they had not had that training," said Gary Langston, President of the Indiana Motor Truck Association.

The bill has to pass several more votes and get the governor's signature before becoming law.

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