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Fox Valley Tech teaching future truck drivers how to combat human trafficking

A truck drives along I-41 in Grand Chute. (WLUK/Gabrielle Mays){ }
A truck drives along I-41 in Grand Chute. (WLUK/Gabrielle Mays)
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GRAND CHUTE, Wis. (WLUK) -- Fox Valley Technical College wants all of its future truck drivers to know what human trafficking looks like while they're out on the road.

"If you see this type of activity and you even think about participating, I want you to look at this card," said Rod Behnke.

He's been teaching soon-to-be truckers how to spot human trafficking for the past six years.

"The truck driving students need to be aware they can be a significant force to combat the human trafficking issues that we have. They're the eyes and ears of the highways and I want to make sure they're aware of this," he said.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will.

The hotline shows 91 human trafficking cases were reported in Wisconsin last year.

In 2016, the number was 66 and the year before that, 50 human trafficking cases were reported.

Behnke said one sign of human trafficking can include a knock on a truck driver's door from a boy or girl while at a truck stop.

"We want them to think twice about participating in this because, of course, this is someone's child," Behnke said.

Students are being asked to be a part of the program called Truckers against Trafficking and call police and a hotline to report any suspicious activity.

The course has been eye opening for some students.

"I'm really shocked by it all," said Cory Krolczyk.

He graduates next week and said he'll be paying attention while out on the road.

"We do see a lot of stuff that I normally don't see in my everyday car, so just with that in mind, when we're at a truck stop or just going through random areas, there's going to be stuff that we can pick up probably pretty easily just by keeping our eyes open," Krolczyk said.

So far, Behnke said nearly 1,000 students have participated in the human trafficking awareness class.

"We want to put measures in their hands so we can make a difference," Behnke said.

Watch FOX 11's roundtable discussion on sex trafficking:

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