Truck fleets or operators looking to buy a new Kenworth T680, and show their support for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), can do both on June 20.
An auction for the Kenworth T680 Everyday Heroes Truck will be held on that date at Ritchie Bros. located at 5410 W. Lower Buckeye Road in Phoenix. Proceeds from the sale go directly to TAT – a 501(c)3 non-profit devoted to stopping human trafficking by educating, mobilizing, and empowering the nation’s truck drivers and rest stop employees.
The special Kenworth T680 has a retail value of $157,000, and is fully loaded with a 76-inch sleeper, 485-hp Paccar MX-13 engine, and Eaton Fuller Advantage 10-speed automated transmission. Interested parties can bid on the truck in person, online, or by proxy.
Bidders can register in advance at www.rbauction.com/heavy-equipment-auctions/phoenix-az-2017193#map-and-directions-pane or call Ritchie Bros. at (602) 269-5631 for assistance.
According to Don Blake, Inland Kenworth’s new truck sales manager in the Phoenix area, there has been a lot of interest in the truck, which has been shown at several industry events. Blake spearheaded the Everyday Heroes Truck and had numerous sponsors come on board to help subsidize the project.
“It’s been an industry project with sponsors who all care deeply about putting an end to human trafficking,” he says. “We’re hoping the winning bid will exceed the value of the truck, so even more money can go to TAT.”
While the Everyday Heroes Truck will raise money for TAT, the truck has also raised considerable awareness for the non-profit, which has been training truckers to identify and report trafficking since 2009, the group says.
“Calls into the TAT hotline from truckers and our industry continue to climb,” says Kendis Paris, TAT’s executive director. “That’s the most important thing. We know that drivers do want to make a difference, and they’re stepping up to help identify suspicious activity. Drivers have now made 1,660 calls, resulting in 533 cases, involving 1,139 victims, 319 of them are kids.”
According to Paris, human trafficking is an industry that is estimated to be worth $32 billion in the United States alone – $150 billion globally. “Proceeds from the Everyday Heroes Truck will help us grow and provide even more training and education programs,” she said. “Truckers are our eyes and ears and they’re reporting suspicious activity.”
To further its education, TAT has the Freedom Driver’s Project – a mobile exhibit, which educates members of the trucking industry. The project will be at Inland Kenworth in Phoenix on June 19, and next door at Utility Trailer Sales Company of Arizona on June 20.
At the national level, TAT is hard at work as well — speaking across the country in several states, and hosting coalition “builds.”
“These builds consist of bringing federal, state and local law enforcement together with industry stakeholders for a half-day training in order for them to create a localized response to human trafficking,” says Paris. “We all have to come together and work at ending this problem.”