Human Trafficking Awareness Month garners trucking industry support

In January, American Trucking Associations and America’s Road Team brought attention to National Human Trafficking Awareness Month through several awareness initiatives. In February, ATA and America’s Road Team are joining Truckers Against Trafficking on Capitol Hill to continue bringing awareness to the issue, specifically emphasizing efforts to reduce demand.

“The trucking industry is seven million strong, and our goal is to have everyone in our industry trained on how to recognize human trafficking and how to take action to rescue victims and save lives by making the call and reporting the crime,” said ATA Executive Vice-President of Industry Affairs Elisabeth Barna told the House Homeland Security Committee during a roundtable on the issue. “Our industry has made nearly 2,000 calls to the national human trafficking hotline, resulting in more than 600 likely human trafficking cases identified involving more than 1,300 trafficking victims. More than 375 of those rescued victims were minors.”

On February 21, ATA, America’s Road Team, Truckers Against Trafficking and a bipartisan group of Members of Congress are hosting a campaign launch at ATA’s Capitol Hill office for Truckers Against Trafficking’s newest activity, the Man to Man Campaign.

The trucking industry plays a central role in eradicating modern-day slavery from the nation’s transportation systems. As part of ATA’s efforts to help train the industry’s 7.4 million trucking industry employees in human trafficking awareness, ATA recommends trucking companies and drivers visit the official Truckers Against Trafficking website at https://www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org/.

Truck drivers are also asked to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline to report suspicious behavior related to human trafficking at 1-888-373-7888.

Barna, a board member of Truckers Against Trafficking, spoke openly about trucking’s efforts to bring awareness to human trafficking and educate the industry’s workforce about signs of trafficking at a roundtable hosted by the US House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Rep Michael McCaul (R-Texas). The roundtable discussion helped educate committee members on the important role that industry stakeholders play in spreading awareness about human trafficking, preventing trafficking, and informing law enforcement of possible trafficking activity when it is witnessed.

The roundtable also included representatives from the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and the National Human Trafficking Hotline (Polaris), as well as public sector partners from the Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency Homeland Security Investigations unit and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers.

After testifying at the House Homeland Security roundtable, Barna appeared on the DHS Blue Campaign’s first-ever Facebook Live broadcast, which brought together public and private sector stakeholders to discuss human trafficking. The Facebook Live broadcast also included representatives from Delta Airlines, Amtrak and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers.

“Truck drivers are family men and women and a lot of them have kids who could be targeted for trafficking, so they’re able to talk to their peers and ask them to continue spreading the message about human trafficking awareness,” said Barna. “We are starting to be able to get more signs and videos about trafficking into the driver lounge areas or at diesel fuel stations. Our member companies are getting more engaged every day, and many of the larger trucking companies are training their entire workforces on human trafficking awareness.”

Truckers Against Trafficking-trained truck driver, John McKown, of UPS Freight and America’s Road Team, recently presented on his experiences as a TAT-trained advocate during [email protected], a TED Talk series featuring UPS leaders. In his TED Talk, McKown advocates for colleagues in the industry not to turn a blind eye away from trafficking and shares some ways drivers can get started as allies on America’s highways.

Trucking Moves America Forward, the industry’s image movement, also brought attention to National Human Trafficking Awareness Month with a mini-campaign dedicated to the issue. TMAF shared several attention-grabbing infographics on trucking’s efforts to eliminate human trafficking throughout January.

American Trucking Associations, along with sending newsletter dispatches to members about ATA’s human trafficking awareness efforts, helped amplify awareness messages on social media.

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