Truckers Against Trafficking
by Kendis Paris
Truckers Against Trafficking, originally started as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries is now an independent organization seeking to educate, equip, empower and mobilize the trucking industry to combat human trafficking as part of their regular jobs.
To that end TAT has created a website, Truckers Against Trafficking ; a trucking-industry-specific training DVD; webinars; Human Trafficking 101 classes; train the trainer classes and presentations; the printing of wallet cards truckers can carry with questions to ask, red flags to look for and the National Hotline number to call if trafficking is suspected; posters the trucking industry can print and post with the National Hotline number; and publicity and promotion.
Our partners at the National Human Trafficking Resource Center recently published a report about the headway Truckers Against Trafficking is making. According to the report, between Dec. 7, 2007-May 31, 2011, over 125 truck drivers made calls to the national human trafficking hotline. Of these, more than 60 percent resulted from awareness and outreach efforts conducted by Truckers Against Trafficking. While 15 percent of all hotline calls are classified as tips, approximately 42 percent of hotline calls from truckers were tips about potential human trafficking. In another 33 percent of calls, truckers requested general information about human trafficking, with many of these truckers later calling to report trafficking.
Of the cases reported by truckers referencing trafficking, approximately 62 percent involved potential minors in sex trafficking situations. Pimp control sex trafficking was the most common type of trafficking reported by truckers and was reported in 58 percent of the calls referencing trafficking.
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) went on to say, Truckers Against Trafficking is successfully reaching a population that provides valuable intelligence about sex trafficking, frequently of minors. Their work is generating frequent hotline calls about a network that would go unreported without trucker engagement. Truckers Against Trafficking has conducted targeted awareness efforts about human trafficking and the NHTRC hotline through radio programs and ads, newsletters and articles, their website, and other mediums.
NHTRC shared one vignette from a trucker call: While driving through Flagstaff, Arizona late at night, a trucker pulled over at a truck stop near the highway. The driver observed a man who appeared to be in his late thirties with a young girl who appeared to be around 13 years old. At first the driver didn?t think anything was wrong, but after observing the man and the young girl approach several other truckers, the driver became increasingly suspicious. The driver spoke with one of the other truckers, who told him that the man with the young girl was offering to sell her for commercial sex to the various truckers they had approached. The driver decided to contact NHTRC, since he had heard about the human trafficking hotline on a radio spot by Truckers Against Trafficking. After receiving the drivers report, the NHTRC reported the information to a federal law enforcement taskforce that works specifically on cases of commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Because truckers are the eyes and ears of our nations highways, we hope more and more of them become truckers against trafficking. The more the trucking industry becomes aware of this issue and then engages in the fight to stop it, the more lives can be saved. To that end the TAT motto has become: Make the Call, Save Lives! 1-888-373-7888.