Hello, Fellow Drivers. My name is Ina Daly. I've driven for Con-Way Freight for 30 years, hauling double trailers in mostly day-cab tractors. Being a woman in that type of operation, I'm not likely to have a young girl knock on my truck door in a truck stop.
Initial appearances of TAT would lead most to believe that their target drivers would be solo, male, long-haul drivers, because they usually overnight alone in truck stops, where traffickers most frequently work their victims while traveling on to their next destination. However, trucks come in many different configurations for many types of operations. Some of us run the same route daily and sleep at home, and some call the truck home.
TAT was established to utilize our value as extra eyes and ears, just as law enforcement has for many years, especially after Sept. 9, 2011. We work where the traffickers transport their victims. Just like truck cargo, these victims are business merchandise and not valued as human beings, let alone as someone's daughter or sister. TAT understands that truckers overall are compassionate people who are willing to help those in need.
As a second generation, career truck driver with mostly other truckers as family friends, I can agree with TAT's assessment of drivers. If you look into the history of trucking, our gear-jamming forefathers (and mothers) were known as the "Knights of the Road," due to their willingness to help anyone who needed it on our highway workplaces.
TAT has seen the value of using modern-day truckers to address the modern-day problem of human trafficking. Many people just want us to get out of their way on the roadways, without realizing our value to America's commerce, but TAT has shown a level of respect for us that we should return. We can fight trafficking, and we should support TAT in any way we can.
We can help by encouraging our companies to sponsor TAT and drivers to take the training. As long as pimps continue to convince their victims that they will be charged with crimes themselves if they reach out to law enforcement, there will be a need for our help. Many victims will be rescued after reports from truckers. Do like TSA says, if you see something, then say something. Small efforts like TAT stickers on our windows or informative signs on our trailer doors have the potential to save victims by giving them a phone number to call for help on their own.
Almost every woman either knows a victim of sexual assault or was a victim herself. Since we share the pain of our friends and relatives or personally, we all (male and female) feel a natural desire to rescue and protect trafficking victims. However, just like rendering aid at accident scenes, our first responsibility has to be to protect ourselves and not inadvertently put the victim in more danger. Keep your eyes out in rest areas, truck stops and on the highway. Make the report, and let the police handle the apprehension. Our duty is to watch and report. As you do, say a prayer for the trafficking victims.
Drive safe, Brothers and Sisters.