Hello friends and supporters,
We are excited to share this 2nd quarter newsletter with you. So much has happend in the last three months, and we continue to move forward in our goal of equipping the trucking industry to recognize and respond to child exploitation and human trafficking. We do that with your help and support, and it's amazing to see what a difference each of you are making in the fight against human trafficking!
Every call makes a difference. Every driver trained on recognizing the signs of human trafficking makes a difference. Every wallet card in the hands of those of you that are the eyes and ears of our nation's highways makes a difference. Thank you for the work you do. We are privileged to be a part of it.
Truckers Against Trafficking
United Nations honors truckers and trucking industry for anti-human trafficking efforts
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) has been named one of the top 100 practices for combating human trafficking by the United Nations' 2013 Protection Project Trafficking in Persons report.
Included in the report's section on "The Role of Civil Society," TAT is described as follows:
TAT is an organization of members of the trucking and travel plaza industry who are committed to eliminating human trafficking by designing and participating in education and awareness campaigns aimed at truckers and the trucking industry.
To spread information, TAT has designed posters, brochures, and flyers that are placed at truck stops, as well as wallet cards to be distributed to every trucker in the United States. Those items call on truckers to contact the National Anti-Trafficking Hotline when coming across cases of human trafficking. Between December 7, 2007, and May 31, 2011, the hotline reported more than 125 calls from truck drivers. Of those, 60 percent were the direct result of the TAT awareness campaign.
TAT has created a training DVD that features (a) truckers who have seen human trafficking taking place on their routes, (b) a trafficking victim rescued from a truck stop through the call of a trucker, (c) actual footage of prostituted women at a travel plaza, and (d) information on concrete ways that members of the trucking and travel plaza industry can fight this crime in the course of their daily work. The training DVD can be used as part of the orientation for all truck stop and travel plaza employees, all students of private and public trucking driving schools, and all truck drivers who are employed by major carriers or are owner-operators.
"We commend every member of the trucking industry who identifies as a trucker against trafficking," said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, "and feel it is an honor well earned by all of them. We believe the trucking industry is proving itself a leader across the entire transportation industry when it comes to fighting human trafficking."
Colorado coalition build deemed successful event
"One of the most satisfying activities we're involved in is building partnerships or coalitions between law enforcement and members of the trucking and travel plaza industry," commented Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. "Seeing relationships develop between these two front-line groups, as well as trust and mutual understanding of how to best work together to fight human trafficking, is powerful."
To that end, TAT participated in its third coalition-build event between law enforcement and members of the trucking industry in Denver on March 14.
"TAT would like to thank the FBI, the Colorado Motor Carriers Association, iEmpathize, Praxus, the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, the Southern Colorado Human Trafficking Task Force and the Denver Metro Crimestoppers for their fine support and promotion of the event," Paris said. "I received good comments from those who attended and believe everyone walked away with a greater understanding of the problem and what to do to fight it."
General managers from TA/Petro, Pilot/Flying J and Tomahawk attended, along with many law enforcement agencies, including the Denver Police Force, Wheat Ridge, Commerce City and the Douglas County Sheriff's office.
The half-day conference provided training on human trafficking, with a specific emphasis on domestic sex trafficking and how it presents itself at truck stops, as well as an opportunity to forge connections for the creation of next steps in the fight against human trafficking. Trafficking survivor Audrey T. helped participants understand the realities facing those who are trafficked by sharing her personal story.
Previous coalition-build events in which TAT has participated have been held in Southern California and in Ohio in recent months, with more being planned. The events seek to build relationships and greater cooperation between law enforcement and the trucking industry for more effective work in the fight against human trafficking in that area.
TAT invited to participate in human trafficking awareness training for law enforcement
On the recommendation of the FBI, TAT was invited to provide joint training with Ray Herndon, founder of Diamondback Training, LLC to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol on how to spot human traffickers during a routine commercial motor vehicle (CMV) stop.
Diamondback Training, LLC is a cutting-edge law enforcement training organization specializing in CMV criminal interdiction. Criminal interdiction addresses many facets of criminal activity, including domestic terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking and cargo theft, to name a few.
Herndon is a nationally recognized veteran law enforcement officer who has had a parallel career in the trucking/transportation industry for over 25 years, both as a business/small fleet owner and employee/driver.
"We've partnered with Truckers Against Trafficking to help create a proactive partnership between law enforcement and the transportation industry to provide quality standardized human trafficking training to both law enforcement officers and transportation industry workers," Herndon commented.
"It's imperative that both sides receive similar training, so we're all on the same page," he continued. "Communication is key, and a breakdown in that communication may cost a human trafficking victim their only chance at freedom. We, all, as human beings, are obligated."
Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, concurred, "TAT is very pleased to be partnering with Ray and Diamondback, as his vast experience in both law enforcement and the trucking industry enable him to deliver a wealth of information on the subject of human trafficking. When members of the trucking industry and law enforcement are on the same page, we know there's a much greater chance of criminals being caught and victims being rescued. So we welcome the opportunity, whenever possible, to work with and help facilitate the training for each group."
She continued, "TAT actually sponsored (thanks to a special donation from the Pattens) his appearance at the National Crime Enforcement Association in Tulsa, Oklahoma in March, where over 1000 law enforcement officers heard about TAT from Ray. Mark Brown, TAT chairman of the board, ran the TAT booth at the event, speaking with many law enforcement officers and distributing TAT materials."
Diamondback Training, LLC is now sporting the TAT logo on one of its latest trucks used in law enforcement training as yet another way to get the message out there that the trucking industry is working to end the crime of human trafficking along our nation's highways, roads and streets, and wherever they see it.
TAT continues to grow as more trucking associations join
In the past few months, the Massachusetts Motor Transportation Association (MMTA) and the Motor Transportation Association of Connecticut (MTAC) have come on-board with TAT.
In the letter it sent to members, MMTA said, "The association was very involved in efforts made to pass this legislation in Massachusetts, and by joining TAT, MMTA hopes to raise awareness of this problem and 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."
In addition to these latest two state associations, other state associations already working with TAT in their states are Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana and Oklahoma. Nationally, the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) and the North American Truck Stop Network (NATSN) have all joined TAT, along with numerous trucking companies and truck-driving schools.
What is TAT?
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a non-profit organization that exists to educate, equip, empower and mobilize the trucking industry to combat human trafficking as part of their regular jobs. To a great extent, domestic sex trafficking occurs along our nation's highways and at its truck stops, where traffickers can sell their victims to a transient population they believe are less likely to attempt rescue. In response, TAT is asking the 3.5 million domestic truckers, as well as other members of the trucking industry, to become aware of this issue, and, when they suspect a human trafficking case, to call the national hotline and report it.