Humane: Do Some Good
Truckers Against Trafficking
Have you ever been to a truck stop? Most likely you have while taking a road trip anywhere in America along the interstate highway system. We stop for gas, go inside the roadside restaurant for a bite to eat, walk around a while, then get back on the road.
While at these truck stops, did you ever look around at all the trucks lined up in the side parking lot? You may have thought that most of the drivers are getting much-needed sleep, but did you know that high up in some of those cabs, young girls are at “work” as sex slaves? If you look around the rest of the parking lot, you may notice a car parked along the opposite side, with a driver sitting casually behind the wheel, innocently passing the time, yet watching attentively ahead. And then you see a girl alight from one of those tall trucks and scurry across the parking lot to that car where her “employer”, a.k.a., the pimp, awaits to collect her earnings.
What would you do if you noticed such a scenario? Hopefully, you’d go inside the restaurant and make a phone call to the Highway Patrol. Aside from that one phone call, what else could you do?
You could call “Truckers Against Trafficking”, who are working to prevent scenes as described above from ever happening again. Here’s a little on who they are, how they got started, and the effectiveness of the project.
Back in 2008, Kendis Paris read the book, Not For Sale, by David Bastone, and learned something she had never known: human trafficking happens right here in America. She talked with her mother about it, and the two of them decided to take action. After a period of research and networking with others who have the same concerns, Kendis and her mother came up with the idea to start Truckers Against Trafficking. It was Kendis’ mother who put the concept together that trafficking happens along the highways and truckers are out there in a position to help.
Kendis and her mom attended their first trucking show in Tulsa in 2009. Their message to bring awareness to the problem of human trafficking in America resonated with the truckers and Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) was born to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking and travel plaza industry to combat domestic sex trafficking.
Now, just a few short years later, TAT has achieved remarkable results (the following is taken from the website):
The trucking industry has shown they are in the business of saving lives through Truckers Against Trafficking, and the results prove it:
• Calls into the national hotline have skyrocketed since TAT’s inception.
• Recovery stories of women and children who were being trafficked for commercial sex are coming in.
• The trucking industry is partnering with law enforcement in our coalition builds all across the nation.
• The TCA, the ATA, the NATSO Foundation, the CVTA, the NAPFTDS, NASTC, OOIDA, numerous state trucking associations, carriers, companies and schools have all announced their support of TAT through strategic partnerships.
• Congress recognized the work of the trucking industry via TAT on its floor.
• The trucking industry gained global recognition when TAT was included in the United Nation’s 100 Best Practices list to combat human trafficking.
• Tens of thousands now follow us via our social media channels and are being pro-active in bringing this message back to their companies.
• Winner of the Norma Hotaling Award for Demand Reduction.
• Truckers are increasing awareness to the general public as well– through the school system, in churches, neighborhoods, on the backs or sides of their trucks, and at conferences.
• The FBI, USDOT, OMVE, AAMVA, DHS and the AG’s office have begun to partner with the trucking industry on a variety of levels to get this message out to those who need it most.
TAT created the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) which is a first-of-its-kind mobile exhibit that is a premiere tool in educating members of the trucking industry and general public about the realities of domestic sex trafficking and how the trucking industry is combating it. From its outside wrap, to the climate controlled interior, which includes a theatre station, actual artifacts from trafficking cases that connect people to the back stories of so many who end up enslaved in our country, to portraits of the real Truckers Against Trafficking and how each is working to end human trafficking, this trailer provides many with their first glimpse into human trafficking, as well as simple action steps anyone can take immediately walking out of it.
TAT has a terrifically informative website where you can learn more and find out about the training program.
Here is an interview with Kendis Paris in Forbes Magazine.
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