Maybe you’ve never thought about it this way, but truck drivers and the people who work them are literally at a crossroads. Because of the everyday requirements of their jobs, they see and hear just about everything that goes on along America’s Interstate Highways. And unfortunately that “everything” includes occasionally encountering an underage girl who’s been forced by a trafficker to knock on their cab door. Well, now there’s a nonprofit that wants to give truckers the tools to help fight sex trafficking nationwide. It’s called: Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) and they’re doing their best to get those of us in the trucking and travel plaza industries to pitch in and help combat domestic sex trafficking.
“Recently a young woman had been placed in their care through the NHTRC and as the president began to speak with her she shared her story…she had escaped from her captors and was hitchhiking along our nation’s highways in order to get as far away from her captors as possible when a trucker gave her a ride. Apparently he began to ask her questions and soon realized that she was a victim of human trafficking. He gave her the NHTRC number to call and that is how she ended up in the safe home.” – Kendis Paris, Truckers Against Trafficking
How Can You Help?
For starters by putting informative wallet cards in the hands of every trucker in America; by having their Truckers Against Trafficking training DVD made part of orientation for every truck stop and travel plaza employee, every student of a public or private truck driving school, every truck driver working for a major carrier or independent owner/operator; and get Truckers Against Trafficking posters posted at every truck stop, rest area and truck carrier break rooms nationwide.
The organization teaches people in the trucking industry what to watch out for, say an SUV that’s dropping off several young women or CB chatter about underage girls. Once they’ve been armed with both awareness of the nature of the problem and the education to recognize it, they encourage truckers to call both law enforcement and the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s anonymous tip line: 1-888-373-7888 run by D.C. based non-profit, The Polaris Project.
Why Should You Call?
We’ll, that’s easy, because according to Department of Justice estimates between 100,000 and 300,000 children are at risk of being trafficked nationwide. Human trafficking is a $32-billion worldwide industry that often involves young women and teens. Between 2004 and 2009 the FBI conducted a series of stings which found children as young as 13 being forced into prostitution at truck stops.
But, here’s the good news: The response to the TAT’s work within the trucking industry hasn’t even almost been mixed. The NHTRC received 193 calls from callers who identified themselves as truck drivers between 1/1/2012 and 10/10/2012. And during that time truckers ranked 14th out of 38 different caller types, for all calls, and 8th for calls related to possible incidences of human trafficking.
So give that Truckers Against Trafficking training video above a watch and get involved!