Human Trafficking: It can occur in your own backyard
Thousands of people are trafficked across the United States each year. Human trafficking can occur anywhere and at any time. Victims look like you and me.. There are more truck drivers than cops on the roads at any given time and many of the locations that they utilize are frequented by traffickers and their victims. Human trafficking organizations have started training truck drivers in how to spot the warning signs and safely report what they see. It is very important as a trucker, and as a fellow human being, that if you see something, you take action and say something.
Please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline if you ever suspect that someone is a victim of human trafficking (1-800-337-7888)
Who are Truckers Against Trafficking?
In 2009, a non-profit organization known as truckers Against Trafficking formed. They specialize in training truck drivers to recognize and report instances of human trafficking. Calls that drivers have put in have resulted in countless recoveries of victims and arrests. TAT recommends that you always take detailed notes about what you see. Things to jot down could include vehicle information, a description of the potential victim and who they are with, what activities you saw, and the date and time. If you are interested in getting certified by TAT you can click HERE to view their registration page.
We have compiled a short list of some of the indicators of human trafficking, but this is by no means fully comprehensive. The best rule of thumb is to stay alert when you are out, pay attention to your surroundings, and listen to your gut.
Reg Flags to Look Out For:
- You spot a vehicle or van in an odd location. Sometimes criminals will park in the back of a lot or in a truck parking section where they look out of place. Criminals are known to bring victims to clientele in-person.
- You notice that a person is being controlled. This can occur with victims of any age. If a person doesn’t get to speak for themselves this may be a good indicator that they are being silenced.
- Listen for CB radio messages that use lingo such as “commercial company” or “buyer location” as this may be code that someone is for sale nearby.
- Do you see signs of violence or abuse? You may see an actual violent confrontation occurring or the aftermath of one. If an individual shows signs of physical abuse, you should report it.
- Is the individual being watched closely?
- Some criminals brand their victims. A common spot is the back of the neck.
- An individual in acting anxious or nervous.
- If you speak with someone and the conversation seems scripted or they do not know where they are or where they are going.
- You notice someone getting dropped off and picked up frequently.
- You hear cries for help or see them making subtle attempts to grab someone’s attention.
Click HERE to view the National Human Trafficking Hotline’s website which provides more examples and resources.
Remember that you CAN make a difference and you CAN save someone’s life. Be the hero you would want if you or a family member were in a similar situation.
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