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On Aug. 13, Gov. Kay Ivey ceremoniously signed HB261 into law, which makes Alabama the ninth state to pass a law mandating human trafficking training for new CDL drivers.
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.
HB261 requires all new commercial driver licensees to undergo industry-specific human trafficking training. Truckers Against Trafficking, a national organization that trains truckers on identifying human trafficking victims in their daily work life, will work with junior colleges and trade schools to facilitate the training.
“Professional truck drivers are in a critical position to recognize human trafficking, and when properly equipped, to know how to respond,” said Deputy Political Director of Truckers Against Training Kylla Lanier. “To know that Alabama has decided to educate and empower the next generation of professional drivers at the CDL school level with anti-trafficking training is phenomenal!”
“This is another step in expanding the tools in the toolbox to combat human trafficking,” Coleman said. “I want to thank the House co-sponsor Rep. Terri Collins, Senate sponsor Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison and Senate co-sponsor Sen. Cam Ward.”
“We could not have done this without Senator Ward’s tremendous dedication and work in seeing them over the finish line before sine die,” Coleman added. “I look forward to continuing this bi-partisan work next year, perhaps following Florida’s lead in requiring human trafficking awareness in schools.”
The Alabama legislature unanimously passed two bi-partisan human trafficking bills this session: HB261 and HB262 and two House Joint Resolutions: HJR145 and HJR244. HB262 was pocket-vetoed by 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 curriculum to ensure that every law enforcement officer and agent in the state is trained regarding human trafficking victim identification.
HJR244 creates the Alabama Healthcare Human Trafficking Training Program Commission, which is tasked with developing a training module for all healthcare related employees to readily identify and provide trauma-centered care for human trafficking victims.