Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), an organization dedicated to ending human trafficking by empowering the trucking industry to report criminal trafficking activity at active trucking locations, has partnered with The Larson Group (TLG) Peterbilt and 15 of its locations across the Midwest. The partnership announcement precedes National Human Trafficking Awareness Day by just one day, which falls annually on January 11.
By supporting and taking part in TAT’s efforts, TLG’s participating Peterbilt locations will encourage truckers to not only learn the signs of human trafficking at truck stops, travel plazas, and other common locations increasingly frequented by human trafficking victims and perpetrators, but take action when they witness or suspect such a crime.
“We can’t even count the number of truck drivers who come to our dealerships,” says Glenn Larson, president and CEO of The Larson Group. “Our participation in this program will help heighten the awareness and, hopefully, make some heroes out of the drivers we cater to.”
TAT’s materials, presentations, and other forms of education teach TLG’s commercial truck service experts and other individuals in the trucking profession to recognize common signs of human trafficking, such as victims’ lack of knowledge about their community or controlled/restricted communication. In addition, individuals are encouraged to ask questions like “Do you keep your own money? If not, who does?” and “Do your parents/siblings/relatives know where you are? When was the last time you saw them?” If a potential victim does not have his or her own identification documents or a sign of branding or tattooing of a trafficker’s name, those could also be red flags and should be reported, TAT says.
Additionally, instead of approaching traffickers directly, truckers are encouraged to make reports by calling the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline at 1-888-373-7888. As many details as possible are preferred when making reports, from specific times and dates to car descriptions to addresses and locations where suspicious activity took place, TAT says.
“Truckers are the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways,” says TAT Co-Founder and Communication Specialist Marilyn Thomas. “It’s our hope that by equipping them with this knowledge and ability to take action, they’ll share that knowledge within their own spheres of influence, whether in their own social communities or with their friends and family.
“Overall, sponsorships like this are capable of making a huge impact.”
Larson adds, “Because truck drivers travel in areas where trafficking tends to unfortunately commonly occur, they’re the ideal individuals who can really combat this crime. We’re glad to help in every way we can.”
TAT says January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month with its annual day, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, observed annually on January 11. Individuals interested in supporting the cause are encouraged to post on social media using the hashtag #HumanTraffickingAwarenessDay. For more information, visit www.nctsn.org.