Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a national organization leading the fight against human sex trafficking through extensive partnerships with the trucking industry. Each year TAT trains thousands of truckers, rest stop employees, and law enforcement officials on how to both recognize trafficking and to intervene by safely calling a national hotline that alerts law enforcement who quickly respond. This approach has resulted in a significant increase in the number of reports of human trafficking, arrests, prosecutions, and, most importantly, recovery of victims.
Sex trafficking occurs any time there is a commercial sex act that is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or the person engaged in the act is under the age of 18. Sex trafficking is a serious and growing problem in the United States. Polaris, who runs the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, has reported human trafficking cases in all 50 states. It is especially tragic and alarming to consider that often the victims are children. FBI sting operations (Operation Stormy Nights and Operation Precious Cargo) have recovered children as young as 13 that were being prostituted at truck stops, as well as other places.
One of TAT's most effective strategies in the fight against human trafficking is the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement model (Iowa MVE), created by Chief Lorenzen, to fully activate motor vehicle enforcement in combatting human trafficking in IA and beyond. Given the remarkable success of this model, TAT is providing technical assistance to interested states with a goal of full implementation of SBIs on a national level. SBIs partner with government agencies, legislators, and law enforcement to disseminate TAT's educational materials through a variety of entry points in the trucking industry.
There are six key components of the SBI that governors and/or government agencies can easily implement to quickly make a difference including:
- Hold a press conference and issue an Executive Order directing state agencies to participate in the anti- trafficking effort;
- Train state patrol, motor vehicle enforcement (MVE), and other law enforcement agencies on how to most effectively respond to incidents of human trafficking;
- Distribute information about human trafficking and how to best respond at weigh stations, rest stops, commercial drivers license issue and renewal centers, safety compliance meetings, and ports of entry;
- Use asset forfeiture funds to pay for the minimal cost of this educational campaign;
- Join the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) law enforcement network;
- Ensure anti-trafficking training is included in the statewide CDL curriculum.
Interested agencies can expand the impact of the SBI by adding other proven strategies including:
- Conducting TAT coalition-build meetings that include the trucking industry, local, state, and federal law enforcement.
- Help train truck stop employees on how to best use TAT materials.
- Encourage trucking companies to implement anti-trafficking training as part of mandatory safety compliance meetings.
- Appoint a critical industry stakeholder (i.e. State Trucking Association President) as a member of the statewide task force to combat human trafficking.
How TAT can help
To support governors and government agencies in this effort, TAT can:
- Help the governor's office in crafting Executive Orders to initiate this effort.
- Assist with press conferences to announce the SBI.
- Provide TAT materials for implementation efforts.
- Nominate key industry members for positions on human trafficking task forces.
- Assist in law enforcement trainings.
- Provide the Freedom Drivers Project, a full-scale tractor-trailer that has been retrofitted into a mobile anti-trafficking educational museum
- Support on-going implementation of the SBI.