What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery involving humans, mostly women and children, being bought and sold for labor or sex. Globally, it is estimated that there are more than 40 million such slaves today, and that in the U.S. human trafficking has been reported in all 50 states, with victims numbering in the hundreds of thousands. It is most prevalent in Texas, Florida, New York and California. Victims are recruited out of schools, via online, in shopping malls, and off the streets. They can be spotted in private homes, in restaurants, in truck stops and motels, and on the streets.
For more information and statistics, take a look at “11 Facts About Human Trafficking” –https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-human-trafficking
What is Truckers Against Trafficking?
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) became part of Chapter 61 Ministries in 2009. Since then it has grown into a wide-ranging organization partnering with trucking industry associations, numerous motor carriers, government transportation agencies, truck stops and travel plazas, and law enforcement agencies like the FBI. TAT is an organization that has trained more than 730,351 drivers and other personnel in how to spot and report human trafficking. There have been more than 2,250 calls by truck drivers alone to the national trafficking hotline, resulting in 612 human trafficking cases identified, and involving 1,133 trafficking victims.
According to the TAT website (https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/) – “Truckers Against Trafficking recognizes that members of the trucking and busing industries are invaluable in the fight against this heinous crime. As the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways, you are in a unique position to make a difference and close loopholes to traffickers who seek to exploit our transportation system for their personal gain.”
Truckers Against Trafficking has also taught members of state trucking associations to recognize and report trafficking. Today, all 50 state associations have received training—up from just eight a few years ago. In addition, some bus lines and major airlines now offer travel vouchers to survivors of human trafficking to help them return home safely. This growing network of eyes and ears helps ensure that human traffickers have nowhere to hide—and makes our roads safer for the general public.
Dozens of companies in the transportation industry have partnered with Truckers Against Trafficking to educate drivers and allies about the telltale signs of trafficking. For example, as a proud partner of Truckers Against Trafficking, Bridgestone has incorporated anti-trafficking training into regular driver safety meetings and educated the salesforce about what to look for when they’re on the road.
Is There a Hotline For Reporting Human Trafficking?
TAT says that before it existed only sporadic tips were being reported by truckers, but now many calls are coming into the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888. You can also text 233733. In 2017, TAT reported that nearly half of the cases generated by truckers’ calls were involving minors.
Which States Currently Have Some Form of Trafficking-Training Legislation for CDL Licensees?:
Wisconsin – Wisconsin is the latest state to add a law that enlists commercial vehicle drivers in the fight against human trafficking. The law requires all Wisconsin technical colleges that provide commercial motor vehicle driver education courses to include training on recognizing and reporting signs of human trafficking.
What Resources Are Available for Education/Training for Human Trafficking?
- Training materials including a training DVD, wallet cards, and window decals are available free of charge by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
- Train your staff by showing them the training DVD and providing them the wallet cards.
- Provide the wallet cards and training DVD to carriers when they come into your office for renewals or other questions.
- Once you have shown the training video and handed out wallet cards to your staff, then you can register as an officially trained organization/department with Truckers Against Trafficking.
What Are Other Ways to Help?
- Stay Alert to suspicious activity and report trafficking.
- Watch for young teenage girls or boys lingering around truck stops or entering and exiting trucks.
- Listen to the conversation on the CB radio and stay alert for code words like “lot lizard” or “Commercial Company.” Also listen for anyone using cryptic descriptions of a child, rates or sex acts they are looking for. Report any indicators of trafficking, regardless of how minor the indicator may seem, to one of the tip lines.
- Become a Defender. The Defenders USAis a group of men who pledge to refrain from participating in any form of the commercial sex industry. Become a member to receive special access to educational tools and resources and meet others who are determined to end the demand for the child sex trade.
- Learn about the issue. Learn more about child sex trafficking in America by ordering your copy of Renting Lacy: A Story of America’s Prostituted Children today! This riveting account exposes the dark underworld of the trafficking industry through the stories of those who live there. Available in paperback, e-book, or audio book so you can listen on the road!
Of course, there’s still more work to do. Companies in every industry can join the fight. Police departments don’t have the resources or manpower to end human trafficking on their own. And they shouldn’t have to. We all use our nation’s roadways. Whether we’re individuals, small businesses or large corporations, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves about this national epidemic—and do our part to help end it!
Truckers Against Trafficking Website – https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/
“How Truckers Can Stop Human Trafficking”, American Trucker, Nov.1, 2017.
“More States Signing on to Enlist Truckers Against Human Trafficking”, Trucking Truth, June 24, 2019.