As an instructor, teacher, and consultant, I get to face hundreds of truckers throughout America. Truckers are the backbone of America, and I love working with them. I get to talk directly to individuals that some activists would love to reach, because these are the people they need to help with their cause.
In the trucking industry, we can face insurmountable difficulties every day. Our jobs alone can be stressful, dissatisfying at times, and we can feel like we're a forgotten bunch.
But, as bad as we may see our jobs at times, we all have one freedom, and that is, if we don't like it, we can quit. Think about that -- a simple action like quitting. Not that big of a deal, right? If a dispatcher lies … WE QUIT! Can't get home to see family when we need to … WE QUIT! Seems simple, doesn't it?
What if you couldn't; what if your job was one you were forced to do … you were forced to sell yourself for sex, humiliation, intimidation and brutality. You were forced to allow men or women to have sex with you in order to meet a money quota for someone else, or you would face a beating? What if you were threatened and then brutally murdered, because you simply wanted to quit, just to make an example of you to the others.
What if you were a child? Yes, a child, say 12, 13, 14, 15? Sounds so disgusting, it's hard to think in the year 2015, we would be discussing an archaic barbaric act of slavery of children, young women, and boys. Exploitation, so someone who owns you could make a buck. Stew on that for a bit; think about it.
Now let me take you back to an experience I had. 1970, Udorn RTAFB, Thailand. Ten feet from the main road into the base was a strip of bars. Taipei Taiwan, what the GIs called "Who Chan Lou" (strip of bars with girls for GIs). You could buy a Girl from Poppa Son for a carton of cigs and a fifth of Seagrams. Want two girls … bring a jar of Pond’s Cold Cream. Yea, Pond's Cold Cream.
Now, what the heck do GIs in Thailand and Taiwan have to do with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT)? Back then and over there, there was a market that needed to be filled. There were merchants with “wares,” and there were buyers that would pay.
In 2015, we have this same type of exploitation on the lots of some truck stops, on the internet, at hotels and motels, brothels, on street corners in every city, in people’s homes and other places, just like at the gates of those bases. We have pimps, traffickers, criminals, murderers and abusers marketing their “product.” And, we have some truckers just like we have members of every profession that utilize those services, commit crimes against humanity and spend money on this type of abuse. Oh, we know the "hush hush" hum of a CB radio, the knock on the door at 3 a.m., the poor excuse of “it's lonely out here.” So lonely, you'll commit a crime and support the exploitation of a child?
A few years back, I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at a social media convention of truckers. A new idea to bring truckers and advocates together to form alliances, grow stronger, let their voices be heard and show others what their passions were! There, I met this lovely lady from TAT, with as much passion and fire in her eyes about her cause as the exhaust of a NASCAR … PURE FIRE!
Kylla and I talked for less than 10 minutes. She said so much in that 10-minute conversation, it brought back those memories of being overseas … those girls being treated like assets, not humans.
I immediately started to look into just what TAT was. Did I get an education! Was I naive enough to not know what was going on in our own country and how it intersected with trucking? Oh heck no, I knew. Been in the business 40 years, No angel here … I listened to the negotiations many a night … ratings of the women … the berating of the young women with negative terms.
But now I saw things differently. I learned from her that these girls were victims, and I realized the atrocity they live with and the dangers they face every day. It woke me up. Because I wasn't naïve and did know what was happening, I appreciated the direction she was going…to reach the thousands and millions of drivers who DO NOT partake of the services of juveniles for their perverted pleasures.
This was the kind of organization I wanted to be a part of. I got excited. I am already an advocate for drivers and small companies that are being treated unfairly, but to be an advocate and work with TAT, to reach the very drivers I was seeing daily with the message that they, the drivers, can get involved and help solve a moral disgrace and brutality…that was something I wanted to do.
So was it a hard decision for me? OH HECK NO! And that's how I got involved with one of the greatest advocacy groups in the world – truckers, some of my favorite people, men and women saving lives and futures, by just looking, and not participating in these actions.
Please, like I said, think about it, while you’re reading this. If you’re home and have kids, look at them … think. A child in the hands of pimps, and exploited for sexual acts, in parking lots and massage parlors -- and it could be yours. That knock on your door at night in your truck … ask, “Do you want me to get you help?” That call to the police, "Sirs, there are young children working in this parking lot." Simple solutions that take you, the driver, to the top of some young woman's or boy's “savior” list.
Get involved, Do something right and good; feel like you made a dent -- a good dent in this world -- join and support Truckers Against Trafficking!
Watch the Youtube videos; read the information; go to the site: http://www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org/
Do what I did!
Rich Wilson CCRC
TCRG Consulting LLC