Ongoing sting operations by the FBI and other law enforcement personnel reveal that criminals and crime syndicates target a number of locations frequented by truckers to sell their wares. Only in this case, their product isn’t drugs—it’s people: victims of human trafficking. Since 2004, these sting operations have rescued hundreds of children, recovered millions of dollars and arrested numerous perpetrators.
Traffickers targeting trucker drivers as consumers move their “goods” on a continual basis to truck stops, gas stations and rest areas in circuits that each cover multiple states. This helps keep victims from forming relationships with customers and being rescued. It also supplies “fresh meat” to new and different places. Truckers who unwittingly purchase the services of these victims are not just purchasing sex, they are committing rape. Some traffickers even hire truckers to haul their victims to various locations. Traffickers find safety for their work with transient populations. But truckers, in the course of their daily work—and because they are continually on the move—can help stop this … through observations, overhearing conversations, being trained in what to look for and by tools and instruction on what to do. They are the eyes and ears of America’s highways.
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) ® is a 501c3 organization which educates, equips, empowers and mobilizes members of the trucking industry on the critical role they can play in fighting human trafficking. To accomplish our mission, we have three main goals:
- Have TAT materials made a regular part of training/orientation for members of the trucking industry, so when the trucker drivers suspect human trafficking, they will call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) and report what they know.
- Partner with law enforcement to facilitate the investigation of human trafficking.
- Marshal the resources of the trucking industry to combat this crime.
TAT also works to build coalitions between members of state and local law enforcement, anti-trafficking organizations and general managers of truck stops and travel plazas to further the comprehension of traffickers and the rescue of victims. We strategize with appropriate state and national agencies to have our materials implemented across all venues involving trucking and with state and local law enforcement and government on additional ways the trucking industry can provide invaluable help. And TAT continually seeks additional ways for the trucking industry to develop its unique contribution and leadership in the fight against human trafficking.
For more information on Truckers Against Trafficking, the impact the trucking industry is making in the fight against human trafficking or how you can help, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org.
Lyn Thompson conceived the idea for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), along with its mission and founding principles. She, her four daughters and a friend started TAT in 2009, and she turned leadership of the organization over to her daughter Kendis Paris in 2011. With more than 30 years as a public relations professional, Lyn now serves as TAT’s communications specialist.