Professional Truck Drivers tend to see a lot during their careers as they travel the entire landscape across the US and Canada. Unfortunately, many of them sometimes see what could only be described as a much darker reality that many people face in the country: Instances of human trafficking in which men, women, and children are sold into prostitution rings and other Human Trafficking Trades.
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a Colorado-based non-profit organization training Professional Truck Drivers and other members of the transportation industry to identify the signs of Human Trafficking and report instances to the proper authorities. TAT was formed in 2009 to protect some of society’s most vulnerable people who are often exploited by human traffickers that force them into a cycle of physical and sexual abuse, etc.
TAT’s mission, as mentioned on its website is, “Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a 501(c)3 that exists to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking, bus and energy industries to combat human trafficking.”
Polaris, a non-profit organization combatting modern slavery, has estimated that over 10,000 cases were reported to its National Human Trafficking hotline in 2018 alone. Most of these reported instances were sex trafficking cases in which women were forced into prostitution rings.
Unfortunately, those figures do not represent the true extent of the problem. Traffickers often exploit the transportation system to smuggle their victims across the country. Professional Truck Drivers are in a unique position to take note of the signs of human trafficking and report these crimes. At any given time, the TAT says that there are more Professional Truck Drivers on the road than law enforcement personnel, which puts more eyes and ears on high alert for recognizing this crisis.
Kendis Paris, Executive Director at TAT, co-founded the organization with her mother and sisters in hopes of putting an end to modern-day slavery and seeking justice for those exploited by human traffickers. Professional Truck Drivers are often in areas where it is possible for them to spot these crimes and take action.
The FBI always encourages anyone suspecting human trafficking to report it, and Professional Truck Drivers have done an excellent job doing just that. We are optimistic that they will continue to do so and assist the authorities in combatting this wrong.
Professional Truck Drivers and other concerned citizens are making the calls that end up saving lives. The formation of TAT has led to a systemic change. Since the non-profit began training Professional Truck Drivers on spotting and reporting human trafficking, 12 states have either changed laws or passed legislation to include anti-trafficking training in the commercial driver’s license school curricula.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) annual report earlier this year, outlining the efforts made by the DHS to improve protection and assistance for the victims of this heinous crime. According to its report, 2,360 arrests were made in 2021 in human trafficking cases. The report also noted $486 million in detained or seized shipments linked with human trafficking in 2021.
The penalties of human trafficking are rightfully severe. The conviction for holding a person in peonage (against their will) carries a sentence of 20 years in federal prison alongside heavy fines. If any death results from violations linked with human trafficking, the prison sentences for these offenses carry a minimum of 10 years in prison and a potential life sentence. Additionally, victims of human trafficking can legally sue for damages, making punishment more severe for criminals.
At Fr8 World Logi$tix, we recognize that the Professional Truck Drivers we work with are uniquely positioned to make a major difference in addressing human trafficking. We highly advise raising more awareness about this major problem plaguing the country and reporting any instances that you might see. Dial 1 (888) 373-7888 to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline if you notice signs of human trafficking. Visit Truckers Against Trafficking for more valuable insights on how you can play a part in putting an end to this crime.