LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Human trafficking, predominantly involving young girls sold into the sex trade, has become a $32 billion business in the US and the American Trucking Associations is lending a hand in the battle to end this scourge.
The ATA is joining with Truckers Against Trafficking to raise awareness against human trafficking among professional truck drivers and the trucking industry and educate them on how they can help fight against the crime.
“These predators have become very adept at continuously moving their victims so they don’t have the opportunity to develop relationships with people who can help them. But there are 3.1 million truck drivers who travel over 408 billion miles each year. ..Drivers are the eyes and ears of the highway. We have an opportunity to help,” said Dan England, chairman of the ATA. “We are asking our motor carriers to include this important information in their training programs and to work with their customers and communities to help combat the problem.”
By joining with Truckers Against Trafficking, ATA hopes to not only raise awareness of this problem, but to educate the industry on what to look for if they suspect a human trafficking incident, what specific information is needed for local law enforcement and how to report any suspicions.
Kendis Paris, national director of Truckers Against Trafficking, said traffickers “sell” their victims – girls and boys as young as 11 or 12 – at truck stops, travel plazas and rest stops because they are convenient; transient populations frequent them who are less likely to rescue the victims.
Truckers Against Trafficking provides a number of resources for the industry, including a wallet card with guidelines and a telephone number to call. They provide a training DVD, webinars and other outreach materials. They also have a national trafficking hotline to call should they see any suspicious behavior: 1-888-3737-888.
Paris said hundreds of calls are coming in and they are making a difference.
“Success stories are coming in of victims being rescued. You are making a difference,” she said.
The Department of Justice estimates between 100,00 and 300,000 children are at risk every year to traffickers in the US.