Our Heros of the Highway
Human trafficking has been a persistent issue for centuries. There is an unsettling 40 million victims around the world. Unfortunately, truck drivers see it occurring regularly in plain sight at truck stops, restaurants, motels, and more. The trucking industry has been working hard to focus more of its attention on the issue. January is recognized as National Human Trafficking Awareness Month in the United States. We encourage you to take a look at how you can participate this month.
To build awareness around the issue. We encourage you to take a look at how you can participate this month.
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is the exploitation of humans through force or fraud for the purpose of commercial sex or forced labor. The following information is from dosomething.org and Truckers Against Trafficking.
- Globally, human trafficking brings in $150 billion a year for traffickers.
- The National Human Trafficking Hotline received more calls from California than any other state followed by Texas and Florida.
- 2,692 of those calls made to NHTH were by truck drivers.
- About 50,000 people are trafficked into the US each year, most often from Mexico and the Philippines.
- 1,296 human trafficking victims have been identified by the transportation industry.
Truckers Against Trafficking
Truck drivers have shown they are in business to save lives. Truckers Against Trafficking was established in 2009 to empower the transportation industry to take a public stand against human trafficking. Currently, 1,014,367 truck drivers have completed their Certified Trucker Against Trafficking program. Over the years, TAT has received recognition from U.S. Congress and United Nation’s 100 Best Practices list for their success. Also, TAT has partnered with numerous motor carriers, trucking industry associations, government transportation agencies, truck stops, travel plazas and law enforcement.
Hero of the Highway
Millions of truck drivers have become the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways, like Kevin Kimmel. In 2015, Kimmel saved a woman from modern-day slavery. At the time, he was pulling into a truck stop to sleep. He saw a distraught young woman through the darkened window of an RV. Kimmel decided things didn’t look right and called local law enforcement. The police found her inside the RV malnourished and frightened. She had been kidnapped two weeks prior. Kevin Kimmel’s heroic action granted her, her freedom.
3 Ways Truck Drivers Can Make a Difference
- Get Certified. If you’ve received your CDL training, join TAT’s army of transportation professionals working to disrupt human trafficking. The Truckers Against Trafficking test is free for all truck drivers. You can get certified online or see if your organization offers training.
- Follow your instincts. Call or text the National Human Trafficking Hotline to report a tip if you ever believe you may have information about a trafficking situation.
- Don’t turn a blind eye. If you witness any suspicious activity notify the truck stop employee or call local law enforcement.
The Blue Campaign, a public awareness campaign created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, hosts several human trafficking educational events. One of their largest initiatives is #WearBlueDay on January 11. Many Americans participated by taking a photo of themselves dressed in blue and shared to social media. See how everyone came together for #WearBlueDay on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.