Support, donations help TAT further its mission to end human trafficking

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 12/20/2013

Since 2009, the nonprofit organization Truckers Against Trafficking has been working tirelessly to combat human trafficking by enlisting the help of the trucking industry.

Through TAT’s online training program and printed materials, truck drivers and truck stop employees across the country have been trained to be on the lookout for signs of human trafficking, especially sex trafficking, and to alert proper authorities. You can get the material and wallet cards at a number of places coast to coast, including Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association headquarters in Grain Valley, Mo.

OOIDA, which has more than 150,000 members nationwide, partnered with TAT more than a year ago to provide support and to heighten awareness.

Sometimes, the patronage comes from just one single supporter, like Matt Hopkins, a trucker, who has planned a climb of a lifetime to raise money for Truckers Against Trafficking. Hopkins’ goal is to raise $22,841, the number of vertical feet to reach the summit of Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. Click here to donate or to find out more about Hopkins’ climb in February 2014.

Recently, Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores Inc. announced it was partnering with TAT to train its 10,000 employees at more than 300 truck stops in the U.S. The family-owned truck stop chain also donated $10,000 to help TAT with its operating costs to further the organization’s mission.

“The money will be used to help us reach our strategic goals for 2014, which include greater material distribution, increasing our coalition to build presence throughout the United States, and promoting TAT’s work throughout the industry to a greater extent,” said Kendis Paris, executive director for TAT.

Paris said other generous contributors to TAT’s mission in 2013 include the following companies:
The Greenbaum Foundation – $50,000;
Ashoka – $50,000;
Bridgestone Tires – $75,000 three-year pledge (gave $25,000 installment in Dec.);
California Trucking Association – $9,500;
National Association of Small Trucking Companies – $5,000;
Rail Delivery Services – $1,000;
Pacific Coast Truck and Warehouse – $1,000;
Brenny Transport – $1,000;
C.R. England – $2,000;
Transport America – $1,000;
The Cruise Fundraiser through Carol’s Travel Time – $10,407.59; and
The Taylor Foundation – $4,000.

Paris added that some of TAT’s “most faithful givers” include:
Josh N.;
Grayling K.;
Jesse S.;
NatureRich Distribution Center;
and Transcore Commercial Services.

The Department of Justice estimates that 100,000 to 300,000 of America’s young people are placed at risk in the sex-for-sale industry every year. Truck driver or truck stop employees who suspect human trafficking are urged to call the national hotline number at 888-373-7888, which is operated by the Polaris Project.

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