Hello everyone. My name is Dugal Trimble, founder and director of The Truckers Missing Child Project.
I have been a truck driver for 15 years and a big supporter of Truckers Against Trafficking since 2009, when they opened my eyes to what was really going on. Since then, I have learned a lot about human trafficking and missing children and have become an advocate for both. Did you know that these two social issues are very closely related?
To begin, let’s look at the current statistics from The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) -- www.missingkids.com: “Child sex trafficking is one of the most common types of commercial sexual exploitation.” “Child sex trafficking victims include girls, boys and LQBTQ youth.” “One in six runaways in 2014 were likely sex trafficking victims. That is up from one in seven in 2013.” “Sixty-eight percent of these likely sex trafficking victims were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran away..
Because of these statistics, the NCMEC has developed a High Risk Child Poster program to increase the visibility of missing children categorized at high risk for sex trafficking. Truckers Against Trafficking has partnered with the NCMEC in this program to share only these posters. Every year, TAT receives several requests from individuals and family members of missing children to share their information and posters. TAT refers these requests to my group as to not lose focus in their important mission of educating and fighting against human trafficking. The Truckers Missing Child Project is always happy to assist TAT in this. Since runaways hold a large percentage in the statistics, I would like to take a moment and discuss the subject of negativity against runaway children/teens in the eye of the general public.
Lately I have seen members of the general public commenting negatively against these types of missing children cases. Not so much on my page but rather on posts from the news media. This negativity has got to end! Far too often, people will see a news article or a flyer where it states that the child is thought to be a runaway. I have seen comments such as "I'm not wasting my time" or "Mommy and Daddy need to be in better control their child." When we receive information about a missing child, it’s general information. We have no idea as to their background, their family life, etc. Not knowing any of that, how can people be so quick to judge?
I feel that every missing child deserves a chance. Someone has to stand up and speak out for these children. We do not discriminate against the type of case, the child's background or even the race, religion, sexual preference, etc. A missing child is a missing child, and we will do everything we can to share that information as far and wide as we can. If you see the negativity we’re talking about, I ask you to please speak up! Give the statistics! Fight to give these children a chance! The trucking industry is playing an important role in the fight against human trafficking and helping to find missing children. Every day we see examples of this in the news ... most recently, TAT’s 2015 Harriet Tubman Award and TCA Highway Angel recipient, Kevin Kimmel, for his actions that saved a young human trafficking victim. Great job, Mr. Kimmel!
There have also been many truck drivers out there in the news that have been alert and have stopped Amber Alerts by seeing and reporting them to the police. Since its creation in 1996, the Amber Alert program has recovered 758 children as of March, 2015. I highly encourage truck drivers and trucking industry professionals to join Truckers Against Trafficking in their mission. Remain alert to your surroundings and, if you see or suspect sex trafficking and/or signs of pimp control, please make the call 1(888)3737-888. The Truckers Missing Child Project would also like to invite you to join our newest campaign for National Missing Children’s Day on May 25th, 2016 (3rd Annual Ribbons and Headlights). This is to bring awareness to our nation’s missing children and show that America’s truckers do care. Details can be found on our Facebook page -- www.facebook.com/TheTruckersMissingChildProject.
Web page for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is www.missingkids.com .