There are hundreds, if not thousands, of truck drivers on the highways at any given time. They are virtually the eyes and ears of highways nationwide. Spending so much time on the open road puts professional truck drivers in a unique position to see, hear, and notice things that non-commercial drivers might miss.
Truck drivers are also uniquely positioned to notice illegal activities others might miss, especially human trafficking. Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a nationwide organization working to empower and educate professional truck drivers and others in the trucking industry to bring an end to human trafficking.
Today’s post will highlight the issue plaguing our country and how you can play a role in stopping human trafficking.
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking happens when people are brought to the country against their will or under false pretenses, only to be sold for prostitution or forced labor. Human traffickers are criminals known to use coercion, force, fraud, or fear to kidnap their victims and use them for their benefit.
Where Does Human Trafficking Take Place?
Human trafficking cases are reported throughout the country. Unfortunately, it can happen to anyone regardless of their age, race, gender, and wherever they are. Most cases are reported in locations with higher traffic density, like truck stops, hotels, bus terminals, and casinos.
How Can Professional Truck Drivers Stop Human Trafficking
Before we get into it, the first thing you should know is that we highly advise against trying to recover possible trafficking victims yourself. Instead, you should follow a “see something, say something” policy. Here are a few guidelines on the things you can do to play a part in ending human trafficking.
1. Keep an Eye Out for the Signs of Trafficking
Knowing how to identify human trafficking is crucial in fighting the problem. Here are a few signs that could indicate human trafficking could be taking place:
Signs of abuse and physical injuries
Seemingly rehearsed responses to normal social interaction
Someone not knowing where they are
Someone who is not allowed to speak for themselves
Trucks flashing headlights to indicate “buyer” locations
Any mention of pimps or meeting quotas
Any sign of apparent fear or discomfort
2. Ask Questions if You Suspect Something
Getting the right information is necessary and helpful when you want to determine whether human trafficking is taking place. If it is safe to do so, you should ask people you suspect of being trafficked a few questions to understand their predicament.
Who are you traveling with?
Does your family know where you are?
When was the last time you saw your family?
Are you safe?
Remember that the victims might be under duress. Be kind and conversational when asking these questions.
3. Call for Help
Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 if you see clear signs of human trafficking. If you see an emergency situation or if there is a crime in progress in front of you, you should call 911 for immediate action instead of calling the hotline.
The NHTH is there to help determine whether trafficking is taking place and work with authorities to address these cases — not handling trafficking crimes as they happen. Be sure to share as much information with them when you call them to report suspected human trafficking activities.
4. Inform Others Around You
After calling the NHTH, you should report what you see to others around you. Whether it is the owner or employees of nearby businesses, informing others can spread awareness about illegal activities in the area and keep people vigilant.
5. Talk to Your Carrier About Taking Action
S.T.I. Trans is one of many transportation companies supporting TAT and the work other similar organizations do to end human trafficking. If you ever see something, you should inform your superiors at the company so they can contact the relevant authorities to take action.