According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline and Polaris, last year over 22,000 trafficking victims were identified in the United States. And these are only the incidents we know of.
Because trailers are one way that human beings are smuggled, truck drivers can find themselves at the front lines of identifying and reporting traffickers. Taking this into consideration, Penske Transportation Solutions has made the decision to sponsor Truckers Against Trafficking.
What is Truckers Against Trafficking?
Established in 2009, the non-profit organization known as Truckers Against Trafficking, trains truck drivers to recognize the signs of human trafficking and gives them tips about how to help fight this crime. In total, the organization has worked with over 900,000 drivers.
One success story involved a truck driver who spotted and reported suspicious activity that led to the arrest of 31 traffickers as well as the disbandment of a 13 statewide crime ring. Truckers Against Trafficking also partners with truck stops, such as Pilot Flying J, and other trucking-related businesses to raise awareness.
How Penske is Supporting Truckers Against Trafficking
At the end of August, Penske announced a commitment to have 5,500 of their truck drivers certified by Truckers Against Trafficking. Each driver will watch a 30-minute training video and receive handy, wallet size guides on what to look for while out on the road. Although this may seem minor, this training has proven to help drivers in the fight against this modern day slavery.
Penske plans to also support one of Trucking Against Trafficking’s ongoing outreach programs. Known as the Freedom Drivers Project, this event features a traveling educational exhibit appropriately housed inside a trailer. To date, the semi has visited over 40 states and attended almost 200 events.
According to Brian Hard, Penske Transportation Solutions President and CEO, “We are looking forward to providing our drivers with the tools they need to identify and report possible trafficking cases. We are aligned with TAT’s overarching goal to saturate the trucking industry with educational information and ultimately combat this horrific crime.”
Tips for Truck Drivers to Identify Trafficking
Human trafficking has been reported in all 50 states, and victims of the horrific trade are commonly found in truck stops. Due to this, truck drivers have the unique ability to identify potential victims.
Be on the lookout for people who:
- Look ill, starved, or malnourished
- Have bruises or injuries
- Dodge authorities
- Avoid eye contact
- Ignore social cues
- Givescripted or rehearsed responses
- Lack identification documents
- Carry no personal items
In addition, be sure to share the information with fellow truck drivers to help spread the word and encourage your trucking firm to team up with Truckers Against Trafficking.