Truckload Carriers Association Joins Fight to End Human Trafficking
The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has formed a partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), a nonprofit organization that educates, equips, empowers, and mobilizes members of the trucking and truck plaza industries to combat domestic sex trafficking. Speaking at the organization’s Safety & Security Division Annual Meeting in Indianapolis yesterday, TCA President Chris Burruss announced that TCA is already making full use of its powerful Truckload Academy On-demand (TAO) education and training platform to prepare drivers and others to recognize and report such heinous activities.
Sex or human “trafficking”—a term for modern-day slavery—has been reported in all 50 states. The Department of Justice estimates that anywhere between 100,000 to 300,000 of America's children are at risk of entering the sex for sale industry every year. Trafficking often occurs where young girls, and sometimes boys, can be easily moved from city to city and forced to engage in commercial sex along the way.
“When Truckers Against Trafficking told us about the severity of the problem, TCA did what any good professional truck driver would do: we stopped to help,” said Burruss. “It is our goal to help train and certify our members’ employees – particularly drivers – on how to recognize the signs of trafficking and how to report what they discover to the proper authorities. We have the members, the resources, and the technology to reach out to thousands of people.”
TCA has developed a test that all interested parties (not just truck drivers) can take to obtain the designation Certified Trucker Against Trafficking, or CTAT. The questions are based on a half-hour video that outlines the scope of the human trafficking problem and what to do when someone encounters it. There is no cost to become certified, and everything is available through TAO (www.truckload.org/TAO). The training and testing also will be offered on-site at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS), August 22-24, 2013, in Dallas, Texas.
Additionally, TCA will ensure that its member companies have access to TAT materials, which include awareness posters that can be hung in company break rooms and wallet cards that promote the National Human Trafficking Hotline: (888) 373-7888. These items are available in English, Spanish, and French Canadian. When suspicious activity is spotted, a simple phone call to this number could help authorities rescue an enslaved victim.
Kendis Paris, executive director of Truckers Against Trafficking, said, “We are so fortunate to bring TCA on board through this partnership. They have the connections we need to help unite a large portion of the industry behind this meaningful work. They also have tremendous expertise in the area of training and education, and since TAO is compatible with mobile technology, we now have the means to certify large numbers of people. At the end of the day, that means that more lives will be saved.”
TCA stresses that anyone who wants to help end human trafficking can get CTAT certified; it is not necessary to be a truck driver or a TCA member. However, it is hoped that the trucking industry can set an example for other industries so they will get involved with the program. With millions of people making a living through trucking in some way, there is much potential for closing loopholes to traffickers who victimize both women and children along our nation's highways.
For more information about Truckers Against Trafficking, please visit www.TruckersAgainstTrafficking.org.