Human trafficking is a huge issue that is not discussed as much as it should be. Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. This crime occurs when a trafficker transports someone into a situation of exploitation. They use force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will.
According to Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) traffickers look for large groups of men to purchase their commercial sex. During the exploitation stage, members of the trucking industry might intersect with victims at places, including truck stops, rest areas, hotels and restaurants when they’re traveling, sporting events or conventions they attend or street corners they pass.
Due to the locations where human trafficking take place, members of the trucking industry are in a position to help. And the good news: they are helping.
TAT reported that in 2020:
- There were 2,692 calls made into the National Human Trafficking Hotline
- 708 likely cases of human trafficking generated
- 1,296 victims identified
There are several “red flags” that drivers can be on the lookout for while on the road, especially at truck stops, highway motels and other rest areas across the country.
Here are some trafficking red flags:
- Anyone who has a lack of knowledge of their whereabouts and not in control of ID/passport
- Signs that prostitution is taking place, such as soliciting sex for money or other goods/services
- Any acknowledgement of a pimp and/or making a quota
- Anyone who has restricted or controlled communication, i.e., not allowed to speak for her/himself, or unable to come and go unrestricted
- Anyone with signs of branding or tattooing of a trafficker’s name (often on the neck)
- A van, RV or vehicle with multiple women in a mainly male area and/or dropping women off and picking them up 15-20 minutes later
- Signs of bruising or other physical trauma
- Potential victims, often a woman or child, looking afraid, upset or in need of assistance
- Potential victims who are being watched or followed
If you spot these red flags, call the National Human Trafficking at 1-888-3737-888 (U.S.).
Truckers Against Trafficking’s mission is to education, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking, bus and energy industries to combat human trafficking as part of their regular jobs.
Hirschbach is helping Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) put the brakes on human trafficking. As a proud sponsor of TAT, Hirschbach has incorporated training materials into our driver orientation program.