Organizations support efforts to stamp out human trafficking

| 5/20/2011

The trucking community is banding together to support one organization’s mission to stamp out human trafficking, which is on the rise at an alarming rate.

Recently, Truckers Against Trafficking – TAT – and Chapter 61 Ministries announced that TravelCenters of America will be using the organization’snew training video to educate their employees about human trafficking and the “role they can play in fighting it.”

TAT estimates that between 200,000 and 300,000 individuals are being trafficked in the U.S. each year, many forced to work as sex slaves at truck stops. The training video was produced by iEmpathize, a nonprofit advocacy group, and seeks to educate the trucking community and the travel plaza industry about recognizing the signs of human trafficking.

In a press release, Barry Richards, executive vice president of TA, stated, “Truckers are among our country’s most caring, upstanding individuals, and trucking-related initiates like TAT work to address issues important to the trucking community.”

In the near future, truckers who visit OOIDA HQ in Grain Valley, MO, also will be able to pick up TAT’s brochures and wallet cards.

Many drivers admit they are annoyed by prostitutes working the parking lots, waking them up from their critical rest periods, sometimes several times a night. But few complain to truck stop managers or employees while they are parked and just head back out on the road because they don’t want the hassle.

The TAT video features interviews with the FBI, a prosecuting attorney and truckers who have seen human trafficking taking place on their routes.

The video also features the story of a trafficking victim. She and her cousin were rescued from a truck stop because of a call made by a trucker after being kidnapped and forced into the sex slave industry while walking to a fast-food restaurant in Toledo, OH.

One of TAT’s goals includes getting wallet cards with their hotline number and information into the hands of as many truckers as possible. Other goals include having their videos made part of the orientation programs for all truck stop and travel plaza employees, as well as students of truck driving schools. TAT plans to distribute posters in all U.S. truck stops, rest areas and trucking company break rooms.