Human Trafficking Awareness in the Trucking Industry
Unfortunately, the trucking industry is one of the biggest industries where human trafficking occurs. According to Polaris Project, 82% of respondents were trafficked from the transportation industry.
American Trucking Association (ATA) recently hosted a webinar on the dangers of human trafficking in trucking. One of the panelists, Liz Williamson, spoke about her personal experience. At just six years old, Williamson was sold into the trafficking trade. You may never have known. During the day, she led a seemingly normal life, attending school and extracurricular activities like ballet. At night, she was swept into hotel rooms, truck stops, and the back of restaurants.
From a young age, she learned that it was okay to be abused, to be bought, to be seen as an object. She was told to be “provocative”. She discussed the feeling of always being on edge, to be “prepared for issues” if she was seemingly off to her abusers.
Fortunately, Williamson was able to escape with the help of an off-the-clock bus driver. For once in her life, Williamson felt like she was human. Noticing she was barefoot and in need of help, he stopped the bus and gave her a sandwich. 11 years ago, she escaped the life of human trafficking.
However, not everyone gets as lucky as Williamson. The truth is many do not have a way out. Bestpass wants to raise awareness on human trafficking and how you can help prevent it. According to Truckers Against Trafficking these are some signs you should look out for:
- A passenger vehicle pulling into the truck parking area of a rest area or truck stop and multiple people (usually women) getting out of the vehicle and/or going from truck to truck
- A van or RV that seems out of place out by trucks; a vehicle dropping someone (typically a woman or child) off at a truck and picking them up 15 - 20 minutes later
- Men going in and out of a motel or hotel room within 15 - 30 minutes and then spending the night in their cab
If you witness any of this call the National Human Trafficking Hotline to report suspicious behavior related to human trafficking at 1-888-373-7888.
Human trafficking is a huge problem in the trucking industry, but with knowledge of what to look for, more lives could be saved.