Know a driver who deserves a little recognition? Nominate him or her to be the DAT Driver of the Month. To nominate a driver, leave a comment on the DAT Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/LoadBoards) to tell us who you chose and why. In addition to being named DAT Driver of the Month, the winner will also receive a $100 gift card.
For every nomination submitted, DAT will make a $10 donation to Truckers Against Trafficking.
Founded in 2011, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending human trafficking with the help of professional truck drivers. “This crime literally comes knocking on their doors,” says Kendis Paris, executive director. “Truck stops are one of the most common places to find women and children who are forced into prostitution, and truck drivers can play an important role in giving people back their lives.”
Paris says most truck drivers are well aware of prostitution at truck stops but they don’t know about the phenomenon of human trafficking.
“Our mission is four-fold: educate, equip, empower, and mobilize the trucking industry to combat trafficking,” she explains. “Drivers are the eyes and ears of our highway system. If we can get drivers to recognize the signs of human trafficking and know how to safely take action when they see it, they can affect thousands of lives.”
TAT offers free resources to help truck drivers detect abuse and take a clear, safe course of action. Resources include wallet cards and window decals with the number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline: 888-373-7888.*
“We’ve all seen the ‘No lot lizards’ stickers. Instead, our decal asks, ‘Do you need help?’ The decal has our logo and the NHTRC hotline number, and we ask drivers to put it on their windows. The hotline isn’t just for law enforcement, it’s also a number that the victims themselves can call to access services.”
Get a Training DVD
The organization also produced a powerful 28-minute video available online and on DVD. It addresses the scope of the human trafficking problem at U.S. truck stops and gives a face and voice to the victims.
“Get a DVD from us,” Paris says. “If you’re a safety director or a fleet manager, use the video as part of your driver training and education. We understand that this is a sensitive issue, and there may be risks involved when anyone sees and reports a crime. But please think about the risk the other person is in and take action.”
Since TAT began its work, the NHTRC has reported an increase of hundreds of calls coming in from truckers across the U.S. As a result, truckers are now ranked eighth in the country for reporting potential human trafficking of all kinds. It says that these callers are particularly well prepared: they know to call as soon as they identify a potential victim and they know what evidence is useful to report. This information helps law enforcement officers to open investigations, track significant hot spots, and provide any assistance as needed.
“If you see a minor working the lot, that is by definition a human trafficking situation — or if you suspect pimp control, for example, when a car pulls up and three or four girls get out — please call the NHTRC immediately at 888-373-7888,” says Paris. “Even if you only have a suspicion, make the call and let the experts at the NHTRC help you. You never know when your tips can lead to a rescue.”
Again, if you see any suspicious activity, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline: 888-373-7888.*
* We mistakenly provided the wrong number in an earlier version of this blog post, and we apologize for any confusion.