January is designated as National Human Trafficking Awareness Month in the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Administration for Children & Families, there are more than 20 million victims of human trafficking across the world. This epidemic affects all parts of the globe, including more than 30,000 cases reported in the U.S. since 2007.
As an industry, trucking plays a unique role in combating this form of modern-day slavery. One organization, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), is dedicated to helping the industry work with law enforcement to recognize and report human trafficking cases.
Earlier this week, Trimble had the honor of taking part in TAT’s Everyday Heroes event at the National Mall in Washington D.C., sponsoring a special Kenworth T680 with a unique TAT theme and paint scheme. The truck will make a journey across the U.S. in the next few months, eventually being auctioned off with proceeds going directly to TAT.
Since its inception, TAT has trained nearly 700,000 trucking industry members to look for and help prevent instances of tracking. This has resulted in nearly 2,000 calls from truckers to the National Human Trafficking Hotline since 2007.
This special Kenworth truck will be auctioned, with the proceeds going to fight human trafficking.
Understanding the signs of human trafficking
As the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways, truckers are in the unique position of being able to combat human trafficking firsthand. According to TAT, there are a few signs that truckers should pay close attention to that may indicate someone is a victim of human trafficking. These include:
- Someone who lacks knowledge of their whereabouts; not in control of ID/passport
- Someone who has restricted or controlled communication— not allowed to speak for self
- CB chatter about “commercial company” or flashing lights signaling “buyer” location
- Acknowledgement of a pimp and making a quota
- Signs of branding or tattooing of trafficker’s name (often on the neck)
- A van or RV that seems out of place out by trucks; a vehicle dropping someone off at a truck and picking them up 15-20 minutes later
If you see any of these signs, call 911 and then the TAT hotline (1-888-3737-888). TAT advises that if you are at a truck stop/travel plaza or any other place of business, you should immediately notify the manager-on-duty so he or she can be aware of what the activity and assist in ending it.
Staying informed and engaged as a trucking community can help us fight what is estimated to be a $32 billion industry in the U.S. alone. For more information about how you can get involved to help prevent human trafficking, visit: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/contact-us/.