Task force seeks to increase awareness human trafficking


SOUTH TEXAS — Joint Task Force-West South Texas Corridor (JTF-W South Texas Corridor) of the Customs and Border Protection is working to increase awareness of the dangers of human smuggling in commercial vehicles through Operation Big Rig.

The task force is collaborating with private industry to help educate tractor-trailer and other commercial drivers of the risks transnational criminal organizations (TCO) are willing to place migrants in and how drivers can prevent themselves from becoming a victim of TCOs manipulations and illicit activities.

“These are humans, not cargo,” said JTF-W South Texas Corridor Commander Manuel Padilla, Jr.  “We call to action the media, community, neighbors, professional drivers, the traveling public and local law enforcement to call 911 if they see, or are aware of, smuggling or suspicious activity of any kind! Do not wait until it is too late.”

The JTF-W, South Texas Corridor launched an initiative to bring awareness to the consequences of human smuggling and enhances community engagement.

In an effort to assist in the prevention of future tragedies, travel centers are placing posters and informational materials at 15 locations located throughout South Texas.

“Through Operation Big Rig, JTF-W South Texas Corridor and our partners are committed to bringing awareness to this issue,” Padilla said. “We are asking the community to take a stand and help save lives by reporting these types of crimes before it is too late.”

Department of Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration Customs Enforcement, along with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations; Air and Marine Operations; and U.S. Border Patrol, are all part of the Joint Task Force-West South Texas Corridor, which leverages and partners with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as industry professionals to combat transnational criminal organizations illicit activities.


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