With the super-popular Avengers Endgame making a billion dollars this past weekend, maybe we should take notice of the real superheroes among us – truck drivers. Truckers have stepped up before when emergency strikes, but that’s not all.
We’re proud of the truck drivers that are protecting this nation in a new and important way – Preventing human trafficking.
Out on the road, truckers get to see a lot of the country most people don’t. And now they’re able to use that unique view to save lives.
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. The crime involves kidnapping, buying, and selling people of all ages.
Victims of human trafficking may be forced to do manual or sexual labor. Or they may be killed.
Unfortunately, human trafficking isn’t limited to developing countries with poor law enforcement. Human trafficking is a real problem even in the United States.
How Truckers Are Helping
The first way you can help is to keep your eyes open for suspicious activity. Truck drivers travel through truck stops and areas of town that aren’t always the safest or the most secure. These locations are often the spots of choice for criminals.
Truckers that suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking should alert the authorities. Specifically, you should call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
Although there are loads of signs to look for, here are some of the major ones worth paying attention to.
- Cars that pull into truck stopsand flash their headlights.
- Chatter on the CB or radio asking for a “commercial company.”
- Anyone that knocks on the truck.
- Anyone, especially a child or teen, that appears ill, underfed, bruised, or has untreated wounds.
- Any person with no possessions, car, etc. and/or looks like they dropped in out of nowhere.
- If you encounter someone, especially a child or teen, that has someone else forcefully speak for them, even though they can speak for themselves.
- Someone that says they are just visiting the area but don’t know where they are or what they’re doing.
- If someone keeps looking towards the same location a lot.
- Someone that tells different stories about the same topic.
- If someone, especially a child or teen, has a suspicious tattoo or marking (i.e. a mark that says “property of”).
- Uses phrases common in the sex industry.
Truckers Against Trafficking
One incredible organization working to put an end to human trafficking is Truckers Against Trafficking, or TAT.
TAT gives lessons and instructions to truck drivers on how to identify victims. This includes telltale signs and appropriate probing questions. Since TAT started, the organization has trained over 7,000 truckers. As a result, over 1,000 victims have been saved from a terrible fate.
According to Laura Cyrus, Director of Corporate Engagement for TAT, “This crime is impacting children, adults, men,women, boys and girls that could be any of our family members”.
So stay aware, and keep using your unique power as a truck driver. You may be able to save someone’s life today.