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TAT NEWS FROM THE JANUARY 2019 NEWSLETTER

2018 TAT annual report coming soon!

TAT had an incredible 2018! Work on the annual report is underway, and it should be out in January. Watch for it on our website, truckersgainsttrafficking.org. Happy New Year to all!

TravelCenters of America to launch TAT product promotion  in conjunction with Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Beginning in January, to bring attention to National Human Trafficking Awareness month and the work Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) does within the trucking and busing industries to prevent this crime, TravelCenters of America will become the first company to launch a nationwide TAT product promotion.

While supplies last, TravelCenters of America stores will sell hats, cups, flashlights and cell accessories with the TAT logo on them. These can be found in specially designed product centers displayed in the stores. One dollar from every sale will be given directly to Truckers Against Trafficking, with the goal of giving $100,000 to TAT to support the work.

TravelCenters of America President and COO Barry Richards stated, ” As longtime partners of Truckers Against Trafficking, we are excited to provide our customers with an easily accessible and hands-on way to support their mission. Not only will TAT be benefiting from the purchase of each item, but the merchandise itself provides another way to raise awareness about this crime. We especially  appreciate  that this campaign will launch in January, during Human Trafficking Awareness Month,   and are proud to be the first company to conduct a widespread product promotion on TAT’s behalf.”

2019 Everyday Heroes Truck to be debuted at press conference at the National Mall

Inland Kenworth will put the 2019 Everyday Heroes Truck on display Jan. 15 at a 10 a.m. press conference at the National Mall. Built on behalf of Truckers Against Trafficking, it is scheduled to be auctioned off on May 17, 2019, in Phoenix at Ritchie Bros. Auctions.

The first Everyday Heroes Truck was auctioned in 2017 for $140,000 to J&L Transportation, resulting in an $83,000 donation to TAT, the largest in the organization’s history that year.

The Freedom Drivers Project (FDP), TAT’s mobile museum, will also be available for tours before and after the press conference. The FDP travels the nation educating audiences about the realities of human trafficking and how the trucking industry is combating this crime.

Busing on the Lookout and Freedom Drivers Project to attend major busing events in January

The Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) will accompany Annie Sovcik, director of Busing on the Lookout (BOTL), to the United Motorcoach Association EXPO in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Jan. 7-10. This will be the first time the FDP will attend a busing event. The FDP will be available for tours during the hours the EXPO floor is open daily, while Sovcik both presents and mans a booth at the event.

“UMA is pleased to welcome BOTL and the FDP to our annual EXPO,” said Stacy Tetschner, president and CEO, United Motorcoach Association. “We believe it’s imperative for the entire industry to rally around this important initiative, as each one of us has a role to play in the fight against human trafficking. As the largest annual gathering of bus and motorcoach owners and operators in North America, the UMA EXPO is a perfect location for an exhibit like the FDP that will help inform and educate our members about how they can get involved.”

From there, Sovcik will travel to the American Bus Association (ABA) Marketplace in Louisville, Kentucky, Jan. 25-29, to man a booth and continue building awareness about human trafficking and BOTL.

Booth space at both events has been provided by UMA and ABA free of charge.

American Bus Association abaThroughout 2018, momentum to fight human trafficking has been gaining in the bus industry, with Coach USA, one of the largest bus companies in the country, announcing last September that they were joining BOTL in the fight against human trafficking. Their commitment includes distributing BOTL cards to their drivers and employees with information about human trafficking and a tip line to call if they see something that raises a red flag. Annual training will also include the BOTL video, a list of indicators employees should be aware of while on the job and posting of the human trafficking hotline number around the depot and on their buses for the issue to be top of mind during the shift. In a news release, Coach USA/Megabus.com voiced pride in becoming BOTL sponsors and have contributed financial support, travel vouchers for victims and both state and federal public affairs support for the campaign.

TAT NEWS FROM THE DECEMBER 2018 NEWSLETTER

Pilot Fying J and N2Gives include TAT in 2018 charitable giving

In celebration of its 60th anniversary in November, Pilot Flying J (PFJ) donated  $2 million to a variety of charities, including Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). As one of more than 20 non-profit organization recipients, TAT received $60,000 from the truck stop  chain which has been a TAT partner since 2012.

“We are grateful to the millions of guests and thousands of team members who have fueled our business for 60 years,” said James A. Haslam II, founder of PFJ. “To celebrate this great achievement, we wanted to say thank you in a meaningful way that honors our history and will make a positive difference in the communities we serve.”

N2Gives, the giving program for N2 Publishing, gave TAT a check for $75,000 in November as well, as part of a multimillion-dollar donation to 30 nonprofit organizations fighting human trafficking and restoring hope to victims.

N2 Publishing is an organization “turning neighborhoods into communities” by partnering with affluent neighborhoods across the country to produce more than 900 private, monthly publications filled with resident-contributed content.

“To fight human trafficking, it takes people who are willing to go, but also people who are willing to send,” said Duane Hixon, CEO of N2 Publishing. “Everyone can play a part, and as a for-profit business, N2’s role is clear: We are going to financially support many of the best organizations that bring hope and justice to those often ignored.”

TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris commented, “Both N2Gives and Pilot Flying J are first-time, diamond-level TAT sponsors. We are very excited to strengthen our programs through their generous support and love having organizations, both within the trucking industry, and without, recognize that TAT is a worthy partner.”

Pecos coalition build draws diversified audience

TAT Coalition Specialist Esther Goetsch addressed the audience at the Pecos coalition build.

Held in the heart of Texas oil and gas country, the Pecos coalition build drew an audience composed of one third oil and gas employees, one third law enforcement and government agency employees and one third from the truck stop and trucking industry.

The event was sponsored by Apache Corporation and Noble Energy, both of which expressed their commitment to TAT and to addressing this issue in their opening remarks. The Office of the Texas Attorney General provided training and case studies through the human trafficking 101 and law enforcement panel. TAT’s coalition build specialist and oil and gas program manager presented targeted action steps for each group represented in the meeting. Survey feedback was positive, and attendees expressed interest on ways to get involved, both professionally and personally.

“Oil and gas intersects massively with trucking, and law enforcement works with both, so builds like this one are effective at enabling people to erase the lines between their industries and look at all the ways they can work together to fight this crime,” detailed Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist.

Large groups toured the Freedom Drivers Project on the Apache tour.

In addition to the coalition build, Apache Corporation hosted TAT and the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) in four of their offices across Texas. Employees at their Houston, San Antonio, Pecos and Midland offices had the opportunity to attend presentations to learn about human trafficking from TAT and local experts in addition to touring the FDP. During these events, employees and company leadership raised their professional and personal awareness of what this crime looks like and how they can combat it. At the four locations, 376 toured the FDP and 273 attended presentations.

Ashley Smith, TAT oil and gas program manager, helped Apache employees gain an awareness and understanding of human trafficking on the Apache tour.

Ashley Smith, TAT oil and gas program manager, put the tour in perspective, saying, “This event was significant, because Apache committed to raising awareness of the realities of human trafficking with all their employees across Texas. As we build out the oil and gas program, we look for more and more companies to become similarly invested … sharing information about human trafficking and providing actions for their employees to take. We appreciate Apache becoming a frontrunner in the industry in this endeavor.”

TAT gains new friends through Giving Tuesday campaign

A most appreciative thank you to everyone who donated during the Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) Giving Tuesday Campaign, which ended on Nov. 27. The campaign raised $39,438 for TAT, and also created new friends for TAT, people who gave for the first time.

Wayne Watkins was one of those. Not only did he give to TAT during the campaign, but he talked to his two brothers, and they both gave to TAT as well. Watkins commented, “My wife and I have been blessed, and part of being blessed is blessing others. I try to do that, and I like what TAT does, because it’s helping the most vulnerable in the world.”

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, said, “In seeking to scale TAT’s work, diversifying our funding streams is imperative. We are so thankful for our corporate partners, and private donors, both new and old, who put their money behind this work and enable us to deliver on our mission.”

TAT-led law enforcement trainings complete for the year

Tennessee Highway Patrol hosted four TAT law enforcement trainings during 2018.

With a final law enforcement training in Tennessee on Nov. 15, Truckers Against Trafficking concluded its 2018 law enforcement trainings on human trafficking and a victim-centered approach.

“The Tennessee Highway Patrol hosted four trainings over the course of 2018 in an effort to train more troopers, to be sure, but also to offer this training to other law enforcement agencies and trucking companies throughout the state,” said Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director and one of the main law enforcement trainers. “Their desire from the beginning was to raise awareness and develop relationships between law enforcement and industry to thwart human traffickers in the commission of their crimes. TAT has greatly appreciated the opportunity and the partnership with the THP, and we look forward to any future collaboration with them.”

In 2018, TAT conducted 18 law enforcement trainings in seven states to 15 agencies, training a total of 742 officers. Since 2016, when TAT formalized its law enforcement trainings, Lanier and a variety of survivor-leaders have trained 1042 law enforcement officers.

In addition to the education of those officers, which has resulted in successful interdiction stops and arrests of human traffickers in several states, the trainings have resulted in: all transit in the state of Oregon being trained with Busing On The Lookout materials; the Iowa MVE model being totally implemented in California; a lead in Tennessee for all school bus drivers to be trained in the next year; and, for one agency, a first-ever human trafficking training.

“We have invitations to come back to several of the states to continue to train more officers,” added Lanier. “And we have three new states and agencies booked in 2019 so far — Pennsylvania State Police, Montana DOT and Oklahoma Highway Patrol — and are in talks with additional states for multiple trainings around their states.”

TAT NEWS FROM THE NOVEMBER 2018 NEWSLETTER

Avoid the crowds and rush of Thanksgiving; donate to TAT now during our Giving Tuesday campaign

You know the truth; shopping in the days after Thanksgiving is a headache. Too many people; websites have problems; items sell out. And, sometimes, in the melee, you forget something.

That’s why we encourage you to get ahead of the game and donate to TAT before the Giving Tuesday crowds begin the charitable giving rush. Give now! TAT’s Giving Tuesday campaign is running now through Giving Tuesday!

TAT has a proven track record. We’re driving change in the fight against human trafficking in systems, policies, corporate culture and coalition building. Mission driven, TAT empowers members of the trucking and busing industry to aid law enforcement by discovering and disrupting human trafficking networks, while bringing freedom to those who need it most.

Our goal for this Giving Tuesday campaign is $10,000. Partner with us to help us grow this mobile army of transportation professionals. Check out our new Individual Donor page , which lists the ways you can give and the new levels of giving with benefits for individual donors.

If you’re a member of the oil and gas industry, don’t miss the Pecos coalition build Nov. 14

Because oil and gas employs high populations of men with disposable income to spend (and where law enforcement may not always be present), it is one of the industries targeted by traffickers with victims to sell. Trained to recognize and report this crime, these same employees are in a powerful position to fight this crime.

On Nov 14, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., TAT will hold a coalition build in Pecos, Texas with the goal of helping oil and gas companies understand how to combat human trafficking as part of their everyday jobs. In this briefing, attendees will learn about the realities of domestic sex trafficking (or forced prostitution) and the role trucking and oil and gas workers can play in ending it.

The Pecos coalition build is co-hosted by the Office of the Texas Attorney General, Apache Energy, Noble Energy, The Texas Trucking Association and TAT. It will be held at the Reeves Convention Center, 1520 S. Cedar St.

Sex trafficking crimes often occur in places where oil and gas employees, as well as those in trucking, might frequent (truck stops, gas stations, rest areas, busy city streets, bars, adult entertainment establishments, loading docks, hotels/motels and other locations where law enforcement may not always be present). Oil and gas companies who contract with trucking companies that deliver sand, water, equipment and other materials can use their influence to encourage those trucking companies to become trained on human trafficking. This four-hour meeting is intended to result in the formation of a network that will bring the resources, wisdom and leadership of oil and gas companies to the aid of state and local law enforcement to protect exploited men, women and children.

Participation at the build is by invitation only. If you’re interested in learning more and/or being invited, please contact Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist, immediately, at egoetsch@truckersagainsttrafficking.org.

Busing on the Lookout continues to gain exposure coast to coast

Annie Sovcik, BOTL program director (far right, seated), spoke on a panel at a BOTL press event in Houston. Also on the panel, from L to R (seated):Jason Lewis, vice president of safety at Coach USA; Texas Governor Greg Abbot; State Senator Joan Huffman (Dist 17). Back row are members of the Texas State Senate and House delegation from the greater Houston area.

As Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) approaches its first anniversary, momentum is building across the country and throughout the major segments of the United States bus industry (motor coach, school and public transit). BOTL’s October activities exemplify this progress as Annie Sovcik, BOTL program director, and Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, traveled to Texas, Florida, New York, California and Missouri to speak at key industry events, and bus leaders in the state of Maine participated actively in the TAT coalition build held in Bangor.

“Human trafficking is among the worst human rights abuses of our time, but I am filled with hope that we will win this fight, because for every perpetrator out there, there are a hundred times as many heroes and good Samaritans who aren’t willing to tolerate it,” said Sovcik. “More and more, I’m seeing members of the industry being champions for the cause, which is truly inspiring, as the bus industry is embracing its role as an extra set of eyes and ears for law enforcement in combating this heinous crime.”

Through these speaking engagements, TAT estimates that in the month of October alone over 550 industry leaders heard the BOTL message and learned how they can get involved in the fight against human trafficking. Also, in October, the Louisville, Kentucky transit system announced they would be training all their drivers and employees with BOTL materials. This news was covered on local television, and BOTL received additional media coverage from the partnership announcement from Coach USA/Megabus in Atlanta as well as a BOTL press event in Houston featuring Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Student Transportation News also featured the training and offered insights into its value through interviewing some of BOTL’s student transportation partners.

Dow presents Laura Cyrus of TAT with special humanitarian award

Laura Cyrus, (far left), TAT operations director, displays the award. With her in the photo, from left, are: Janelle Cooper, road logistics manager; Kristin Beck, road logistics modal leader; and Lori Pavlish, Dow global supply chain transportation safety, security and sustainability leader.

For the second year in a row, Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director, spoke to executives and owners that haul for Dow at the Dow Core Carrier Conference on Oct. 3-4 in Midland, Michigan. Because all of them are already training with TAT materials, Cyrus was able to update them on recent success stories, thank them for being a part of the work and strongly encourage them to implement anti-trafficking-in-persons policies at their companies with a demand reduction focus.

Following her presentation, Kristin Beck, Dow Road Logistics modal leader, highlighted Highway Transportation for their Gold Level ($10,000) TAT sponsorship, asked every carrier in the room to consider making a donation as well and then presented Cyrus a special award for Humanitarianism Appreciation on behalf of Dow Road Logistics.

“Laura Cyrus is one of the most caring and kind-hearted individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing,” said Beck. “She has committed her life’s work to improving the safety and security of our communities to help protect and save individuals who fall victim to the horrific crime of human trafficking. Laura’s selfless work has made a tremendous impact — not only in my life personally — but to Dow Chemical, its partners, and both the transportation and chemical industries. As a whole, all of these impacted organizations now have a great focus geared towards helping to end the growing crime of human trafficking. It was with great pride that I was able to award Laura with the 2018 Humanitarianism Appreciation Award for all of her dedication helping to gain support for the Truckers Against Trafficking program nationwide.”

“TAT is so grateful for the platform Dow has given us to spread the word and engage more companies in this work” stated Cyrus. “I would especially like to recognize Kristin Beck for the leadership and influence she used within and outside of Dow to champion our mission. We are proud to have partners like Kristin within companies like Dow and hope to continue affecting change together. Thank you, too, to the fantastic leaders we have had a chance to connect with at these carrier conferences. I am excited to continue to explore ways we can maximize corporate engagement for social good.”

TAT NEWS FROM THE OCTOBER 2018 NEWSLETTER

Three ways businesses can fight sex trafficking

In her 12-minute TED Talk, Nicole Clifton, vice president of global public affairs for UPS, provides corporations with compelling rationale and concrete steps to take to become engaged in fighting human trafficking, one of the nation’s most egregious crimes and civil rights violations. Click here to read more.

Barry Richards of Travel Centers of America elected to TAT Board of Directors

The Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) Board of Directors has elected Barry Richards, president and COO of Travel Centers of America (TA), to join the TAT board.

Barry Richards

“Barry has been a long-time advocate of TAT,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, “as he cares passionately about protecting vulnerable kids. From the beginning, he has been doing his part to help educate all TA/Petro personnel about the realities of human trafficking and the integral role they can play in combating it. We are honored to have him serve on TAT’s board.”

Richards joined TravelCenters of America in 2000 with more than 25 years in the food service and hospitality industries. Since that time, he has held several leadership roles at the company, including regional vice president, senior vice president of food operations and executive vice president of operations. In 2017, he assumed the role of executive vice president, commercial operations, which oversees fuel supply, fleet sales, truck service and TA’s corporate construction division.

Richards stated, “Prior to my exposure to TAT, I was unaware of the horrors linked to prostitution via trafficking and slavery in the United States. Joining this board seems like an opportunity to ensure others aren’t as naive about this reality as I once was.”

Lanier provides law enforcement trainings in three states

Criss-crossing the country, catching 16 planes in an eight-day stretch, Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, provided law enforcement trainings in Nashville, Tennessee, Sacramento, California and Decatur, Illinois in September, as well as spoke to trucking companies at a trucking software conference in Nashville within that same time period.

Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, views law enforcement as a first line of defense for trafficking victims.

Lanier began her marathon trip in California on Sept. 5, training California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers in the Commercial Industry Education Program. She and survivor-leader Annika Huff spoke to 42 officers, whose duties include meeting with all busing and trucking companies and entities around the state. These officers will now be implementing TAT into their presentations, and in October, CHP will add a TAT message to the tops of the inspection reports given to drivers passing through the state’s scale houses.

From there, Lanier flew to Nashville, where, along with survivor-leader Amanda Joy, she trained 18 people, including Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) officers and officials from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). FMCSA officers were interested in getting Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) materials to the Tennessee Busing Association.

On Sept. 13, Lanier was back in Sacramento, where she briefed 125 CHP division commanders from around the state, who work in Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE), on human trafficking and TAT.

On Sept. 17-18, along with TAT Field Trainer Beth Jacobs, Lanier trained 32 Macon County Sheriff’s officers and local law enforcement agencies in Decatur, Illinois. “This was the first human trafficking training brought to their area,” said Lanier, “and the Howard Buffet Foundation, whose mission is to catalyze transformational change, particularly for the world’s most marginalized and impoverished people, sponsored the trainings. The foundation looked around the state and beyond for someone with a solid human trafficking 101 training and chose TAT.”

Sandwiched in between the law enforcement trainings was an additional trip to Nashville, where Lanier presented to trucking companies at the Omnitracs Sylectus software conference.

“Training law enforcement, who so often are the first line of defense for a trafficking victim, is critical,” she said. “It is deeply rewarding to see officers engaging with the material, asking questions and reflecting on past interdiction and inspection stops and how, with this new information, they will be able to identify a victim easier and know how to speak with him/her.”

TAT presents to Oil and Gas Trafficking Advocacy Group

Ashley Smith, TAT oil and gas program manager, provided action steps oil and gas companies can take to fight human trafficking in partnership with TAT.

In 2017, OVS Group, a software and services company working in oil and gas, formed the Oil and Gas Trafficking Advocacy Group (OGTAG) in response to the growing concern over human trafficking. On Sept. 18, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) presented their partnership opportunities to OGTAG in Houston, Texas. Attendees represented fifteen different companies within the oil and gas sector.

Current TAT partners shared how they have utilized TAT’s programs, while Ashley Smith, TAT’s oil and gas program manager, provided information on the upcoming oil and gas coalition build in Pecos, Texas on Nov. 14, as well as steps companies can take to oppose this crime. By meeting’s end, Smith reported that new companies were already exploring how they can combat human trafficking within their organizations.

“TAT’s presentation at this meeting was important, because it presented tangible actions that oil and gas companies can take to become engaged in this battle,” she said. “OGTAG has done an excellent job of raising awareness of this issue, and we were honored to bring our program to their members.”

Alexandria Alvarez Gerbasi, chief administrative officer for OVS, said, “OGTAG was started to bring awareness about trafficking to the oil and gas industry for prevention of human trafficking in the U.S. and abroad and the role the industry can play in ending trafficking. TAT plays a vital role in bringing awareness and tools to combat trafficking. Likewise, the oil and gas industry is taking a leadership role in ending trafficking. With the natural ties between oil and gas and trucking, it makes sense to partner whenever possible. TAT’s presentation was very timely and offered companies tangible actions to help end modern-day slavery.”

Networking by TAT partners opens doors, engages more people in the fight against human trafficking

Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director, spoke to more than 250 supply chain and logistics professionals at the Detroit event.

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a small organization with a handful of staff, but when TAT’s partners are fully invested in the fight against human trafficking, their resources and leadership multiply TAT’s efforts, creating powerful reach and impact and advancing TAT’s mission.

Through key introductions, as well as carving out presentation time and booth space for TAT, both Ford Motor Company and Ryder used their influence to provide the opportunity for Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director, to present at the Automotive Logistics Global Conference gala event in Detroit, Michigan in September. Hosted by the Ultima Media Team, which publishes Automotive Logistics, a global magazine for the automotive industry, and held at the Detroit Opera House, the audience for the event was composed of approximately 250 supply chain and logistics professionals within the automotive industry, including manufacturers, shippers, third-party logistics companies, auto haulers and more.

Ryder played a key role in securing the presentation time for TAT. From L to R, Bismarck Amaya, program coordinator, events, for Ryder System, Inc., Allie Wallace, marketing manager, Ryder Supply Chain Solutions, and Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director.

” The opportunity to present at this event, and meet a great number of the people who attended, provides TAT with some significant introductions to people and companies who could get involved in the fight against human trafficking and use their influence to help effect change,” said Cyrus. “I hope I was able to inspire the folks in the room to get involved and partner with us in this effort.”

She continued, “Our participation in the Automotive Logistics Global event is proof that our ‘TAT Champions’ across the industry are so vital in advancing our mission. The way we were informed of this event and then successfully included is a testament to just how deeply our partners care about this work and then use their position, network, and influence as leaders to see that others are made aware of our program and look for ways we can all work together to, ultimately, save lives. Ryder, in particular TAT board member Stephanie Wicky, went above and beyond to make sure the TAT message was amplified at the event, and their strong support of our work surely impressed upon the audience the level of importance they place on the partnership and the work we do.”

Coalition builds help close loopholes to traffickers in Arizona and Wisconsin

Cindy McCain provided a compelling story of Truckers Against Trafficking in action to open the coalition build in Arizona.

Co-hosted by the Office of the Attorney General of Arizona and the Arizona Trucking Association, TAT held a coalition build in Phoenix, Arizona at Knight Transportation on Sept. 13.

“We were honored to have Cindy McCain, a very special guest, in attendance to offer inspiring welcoming remarks,” said Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist. “She made sure to thank all the truckers against trafficking out there, who are on the front lines making calls and saving lives. And to illustrate that, she told a story of seeing TAT in action at a gas station a few years back. She saw two young girls and a pimp on-site. Before she could get into the store to tell the manager and call law enforcement, she heard someone behind her call out ‘I’ve got it! I’m a Trucker Against Trafficking!'”

The call to action continued with Attorney General Brovich sharing how his office will continue to make fighting human trafficking a priority in Arizona and how it is working hard to put perpetrators behind bars.

Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist, engaged attendees at the Arizona coalition build.

The coalition build had around 70 participants, including representatives from the Department of Transportation, the Arizona Transit Association, the Arizona Trucking Association, 14 trucking companies, Arizona State University Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Travel Centers of America, two sheriff’s offices, Homeland Security Investigations, the Phoenix Police Department and the Phoenix Dream Center.

“One of the outcomes of the build is that we now are going to work extensively with the Department of Transportation Enforcement Division which has recently gotten involved in the fight against human trafficking and is now very enthusiastic about partnering with TAT and BOTL to adopt the Iowa MVE model,” stated Goetsch.

On Sept. 27, TAT conducted the month’s second coalition build, this one at Harley Davidson of Madison, Wisconsin, co-hosted with the Wisconsin DOJ, Wisconsin Highway Patrol, Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association and Badger Bus.

Harley Davidson of Madison, Wisconsin was the site of the Wisconsin coalition build.

Prior to the start of the build, a press conference outside the meeting space focused on Wisconsin’s efforts to engage and mobilize more eyes and ears in the state with the training and equipping to recognize the crime and report it. More than 100 people attended the actual build, with representatives from 25 local law enforcement agencies, as well as leaders from the trucking, busing and truck stop industries. The meeting provided targeted action steps for all attendees and free training materials for industry members and law enforcement to use within their companies and agencies.

More than 100 people attended the coalition build in Wisconsin.

“The coalition build was about creating partnerships to enhance our ability to identify victims and apprehend traffickers,” said Wisconsin DOJ Human Trafficking Initiative Policy Advisor Julie Braun. “TAT has the expertise to facilitate meaningful collaboration between trucking and busing industry stakeholders and law enforcement. We also received practical resources to sustain and expand these partnerships moving forward.”

TAT NEWS FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2018 NEWSLETTER

UPS and Greenbaum Foundation become the first TAT sponsors at the $100,000 Freedom Driver level

Greenbaum Foundation LogoAfter receiving a $100,000 matching grant from The Greenbaum Foundation, which needed to be met by December 15, 2018 from a corporate entity, TAT received word from UPS that through the UPS Foundation they would be donating $100,000 to further TAT’s work. This makes these two organizations the first two in America to  sponsor TAT at the Freedom Driver level. The Greenbaum Foundation reached this level in 2017.

“UPS is the first corporation to fund our mission at this level,” said TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris. “We are incredibly grateful for their partnership in every area and point to them routinely as an industry leader in combating human trafficking. We are also humbled and honored by The Greenbaum Foundation’s committed investment in the work of TAT to raise up a mobile army of eyes and ears to recognize and report this crime, and know that these funds will enable us to grow it exponentially.”

Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, (left) received the check from Ashley Herrod, UPS Freight driver, (center) and Alexi Carli, UPS vice president of global health and safety.

UPS presented their check to TAT at the National Association of Women Highway Safety Leaders (NAWHSL) conference in Atlanta, Georgia on Aug. 24, where both they and TAT were speaking. Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, received the check on behalf of TAT from Alexi Carli, MS, CSP, UPS vice president of global health and safety, and Ashley Herrod, a UPS Freight driver. Carli was a keynote speaker at the conference. NAWHSL is a non-profit organization of female leaders working nationwide to prevent and reduce deaths and injuries on the nation’s roadways.

“Human trafficking is a safety threat to the communities where UPS employees and customers live and work,” stated Rich McArdle, president of UPS Freight. “We partner with Truckers Against Trafficking, because they best understand how to help our drivers identify the warning signs and report tips to the authorities. Partnering with TAT builds on our culture of safety for our employees and the communities we serve every day.”

Committed to the fight against human trafficking, UPS employs employee awareness, driver training, survivor employment and philanthropic investment among its efforts. In 2017, the organization launched the transportation industry’s largest anti-human trafficking awareness initiative, reaching more than 96,000 drivers throughout the U.S. Plans are underway to institutionalize this training for all new UPS drivers. UPS also supports TAT with quarterly in-kind transportation of the Freedom Drivers Project. UPS Freight President, Richard McArdle, joined TAT’s Board of Directors in 2018. Additionally, UPS has teamed up with Wellspring, a Georgia-based survivor’s advocacy program, to provide employment opportunities to survivors of human trafficking. The company is also leveraging the power of corporate philanthropy to invest in organizations like the United Way Worldwide’s Center on Human Trafficking and Slavery and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. These funds will be used to launch community education programs in local cities and to study the impact of human trafficking on diverse communities. UPS also adopted an enterprise-wide Anti-Trafficking in Persons Policy, which strictly prohibits the use of any UPS assets or resources for any purpose that would enable the trafficking of persons. In addition to its partnership with TAT, UPS is a partner of the DHS Blue Campaign.

UPS Freight vice president to give TED Talk

Tune in to TED Talk on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 11 a.m. (EST) to hear Nicole Clifton, vice president of global public affairs at UPS Freight, give a TED Talk on how industry should be combating the demand for commercial sex.

More than 4500 people tour the Freedom Drivers Project at Iowa State Fair

In addition to enjoying rides, fair food and hundreds of exhibits, 4,567 attendees at the Iowa State Fair took the time to tour the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP), increasing their understanding of human trafficking, what the trucking industry is doing to combat it and what they could do to join the fight as well.

Helen Van Dam, FDP director, said there are several contributing factors to that large number: “The Iowa State Fair attracts more than a million visitors,” she said. “Additionally, we’re in a great location and have good volunteers who interact effectively with people who walk by. The officers from the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement worked the FDP non-stop!”

Pride Transportation strategic in fight against human trafficking

When Lindsay Qualls PHR, director of Human Resources for Pride Transportation, first heard Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, present about human trafficking and TAT’s work to mobilize the trucking industry at the Utah Trucking Association’s annual conference two years ago, she was impacted and moved.

“Kylla’s presentation made a huge impact on me and my parents,” Qualls said. “I brought that passion back to my boss, and he is absolutely supportive of the cause. I’m ashamed to say I was guilty of discounting ‘lot lizards’ as individuals who don’t deserve our compassion or help. I needed TAT’s perspective on that derogatory term. I will be ‘schooling’ people, moving forward, on that dangerous label.”

Every week Pride, which has become a TAT bronze-level sponsor, trains their new driver hires, having a conversation about trafficking and challenging cultural norms around prostituted people, and then showing the TAT video and handing out wallet cards. They also use TAT materials at weekly safety meetings. This year, they also began offering a monthly company-wide training, and they have now required TAT training for all driver trainers, managers and directors at Pride Transport. They place the TAT stickers on all 500 of their trucks. Two years ago, they also added TAT to their charity list for payroll deduction, should an employee choose to do that. Qualls spends 40 minutes in new hire orientation explaining each of the five charities on the list and then gives employees the option to fill out the form on their first day. There are monthly reminders as well.

Pride Transportation founder Jeff England supports TAT.

Qualls related that some of her fellow office workers, after having taken the TAT training, are so moved, they want to get more involved and have now taken over some of the trainings within Pride. She said that in every training, people are moved by the video and the conversations and want to do their part to thwart this crime. To date, Pride has given $3,668.98 to TAT.

Pride Transportation was founded in 1979 by Jeff England, who was a truck driver first and businessman second. At 77 years of age, he still regularly goes out on the road. Pride was founded on a family tradition and continues the same way today with many of England’s children and grandchildren involved in the business. Predominantly a refrigerated carrier, with most of its freight on the west coast, Pride does go to all 48 states. Their company culture is based on “The Pride Way. We truly do pride ourselves in being a good employer as well as a good partner in our communities.”

BOTL welcomes its first corporate sponsor

The United Motorcoach Association (UMA) has become the first corporate sponsor of Busing on the Lookoout (BOTL) at the gold level. The UMA is the nation’s largest organization exclusively protecting and promoting the interests and welfare of privately owned bus and motorcoach companies.

In January 2019, the UMA will host the Truckers Against Trafficking Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) at its annual Motorcoach EXPO in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The EXPO is the most comprehensive private motorcoach event in North America.

Busing On The Lookout (B.O.T.L.)“We are truly grateful to the UMA for their generosity and for giving us an opportunity to share the FDP with the bus industry at their 2019 EXPO,” said Annie Sovcik, BOTL program director. “As TAT and BOTL engage the trucking and bus industries in the fight to end human trafficking, our work is made possible by the support of our corporate, foundation, and individual donors. We commend the UMA’s leadership as BOTL’s first corporate sponsor and hope that others in the bus industry will follow.”

Freedom Drivers Project continues to impact lives at the Great American Trucking Show

Molly Griffiths, TAT administrative specialist, manned the t-shirt and materials table at GATS.

More than 700 attendees of the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas Aug. 24-27 toured the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP), while TAT volunteers, including members of Walmart’s Road Team, spoke to many more about the life-changing work the trucking industry is doing to fight human trafficking. Students, drivers and families, as well as people from all aspects of the industry, stopped to see the stories of survivors and the everyday heroes that make TAT’s work a reality.

Walmart Road Team Captain Everett Shelby, a TAT volunteer at GATS, worked hard to help people understand human trafficking and why it’s important to be involved in fighting it.

“I want to thank UPS and USA  Truck for hauling the  Freedom Drivers Project to GATS, said Helen Van Dam, FDP director, and to Randall-Reilly for putting on yet another great trucking show. “I especially loved seeing two different high school kids come through the FDP twice … once with their friends or alone and then a second time when they brought their family through. They were the ones pointing to artifacts and making sure everyone was reading and paying attention to the exhibit.”

Ashley Smith, TAT oil and gas program manager, helped people understand why the wallet card is important.

“The Great American Trucking Show’s mission is to improve trucking,” stated Emily Larson, director of event services for Randall-Reilly. “One way we can improve our industry is by partnering with the drivers to make a difference in the lives of others, by educating them to alert authorities of suspicious behavior. At GATS, organizations and individuals can find information on how they can donate funds to help in changing the lives of those caught in trafficking. It is a privilege for GATS to assist Truckers Against Trafficking in combating this crime by providing a venue for trucking professionals to gather and become better educated on the issue.”

TAT NEWS FROM THE AUGUST 2018 NEWSLETTER

Polaris Project* launches new report on systems and industries

Panelists at the Polaris Project launch of their new report, L to R, were: Brad Miles, chief executive officer of Polaris Project; Cheryl Rosario, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility at Wyndham Hotels and Resorts; Kendis Paris, executive director and co-founder of Truckers Against Trafficking; Angel Nguyen Swift, vice president of Compliance and Financial Crimes Solutions at Enigma; Wendy Barnes, program coordinator for Dignity Health’s Human Trafficking Response Program; and K.D. Roche, field expert, author and survivor.

To highlight their new report On-Ramps, Intersections, and Exit Routes: A Roadmap for Systems and Industries to Prevent and Disrupt Human Trafficking, Polaris Project held a panel discussion with live social media stream on July 12 from Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., featuring a panel discussion with experts from the industries of social media, financial services and anti-money laundering, health care, hospitality, and transportation. Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, was a member of the panel.

Human traffickers exploit legitimate systems within multiple business sectors for their own profits. From traffickers who use banks to store their earnings and buses to move their victims around, to the hotel rooms that are integral to the operations of some sex traffickers and the social media that are vital recruitment tools, this reporthighlights the way industries can make fundamental shifts to their systems to prevent, detect and disrupt human trafficking. While it only looks at six specific business sectors, Polaris is in hopes the report will spur other business sectors to think through how trafficking criminals may be using them and what corrections they can make.

Bradley Miles, chief executive officer of Polaris Project, stated they spent time learning directly from survivors about the specific ways traffickers use these systems and industries to recruit and exploit victims, and how survivors interact with those same industries to break free and rebuild their lives.

“This report provides us with critical data to elevate our work … especially within the bus industry. If you want a better understanding of how human trafficking intersects with transportation and the immediate action steps to combat it within your mode, this report is a must read,” said Paris.

*Polaris Project is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Polaris works to systematically disrupt the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and freedom. Polaris runs the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) continues to educate, influence change

School bus drivers to be trained in Iowa
The Iowa Department of Education has announced that during the 2018/2019 school year, it will be training all 9,000 school bus drivers in Iowa with BOTL materials. ( Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) considers this a vital step to protecting children and encourages other states to follow Iowa’s lead.)  School bus drivers see students almost every day as they transport them between home and school. As half of America’s school children ride the bus daily – and some children may continue to attend school during the day, even while they are being trafficked or groomed at night – school bus drivers are uniquely positioned to notice red flags that a student on their bus may be at risk of or is being subjected to human trafficking as they observe changes in students’ behavior, moods, physical appearance, and attendance.  For more information, visit www.busingonthelookout.org .

Sovcik presents to FMCSA’s Passenger Technical Assistance Group
Annie Sovcik, BOTL program director, presented to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) National Passenger Technical Assistance Group (P-TAG) during their annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland in July. P-TAG is a group of specialists from both the FMCSA and state regulatory agencies from around the country who provide subject matter expertise and support to the bus industry and the public in advancing passenger carrier safety.

Brodie Mack, safety operations program manager for the FMCSA’s Eastern Service Center and Chair of the P-TAG said, “The FMCSA is committed to using its resources and influence to help combat the human trafficking taking place on our nation’s roadways, and the P-TAG has an important role to play in getting this information out to our investigators and partners throughout the country.”

Sovcik commented, ” While many participants were familiar with TAT and our truck industry training and outreach in their state, most were hearing about the BOTL program for the first time, and, as motor coach and passenger safety inspectors, were enthusiastic about having materials tailored to the bus industry and excited to explore opportunities for collaboration.”

Nexus Global Summit addresses human trafficking

Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director, shared TAT’s strategy at the Nexus Global Summit.

Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director, took part in a panel discussion titled #EndSlaveryNow: Alternatives to Recovery & Rehabilitation from Human Trafficking at the Nexus Global Summit July 27-29 in New York City.

In addition to Cyrus, the panel featured Craig Dershowitz, founder of Artist 4 Israel’s Healing Ink program and Survivor-leader Anneke Lucas, founder of Liberation Prison Yoga. Curated and moderated by Dr. Melissa Jane Kronfeld, co-chair of the human trafficking and modern slavery working group at Nexus, panelists shared details about the work of their organization and engaged the audience in meaningful discussion about best practices, new ideas, successes and challenges and how to get involved in the work.

Cyrus gave an overview of TAT and spoke about the innovative systems’ change TAT is after as it seeks to mobilize bystander intervention and empower the transportation industry to recognize and report instances of human trafficking. She highlighted TAT’s Shipping Partners Program as a way for any companies shipping goods to get involved in the fight against human trafficking by taking action steps that would ultimately help them accomplish the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and enable them to then report on their work with TAT in their sustainability reporting.

“I was honored to bring the TAT message to the Nexus community,” said Cyrus. “Thank you to Dr. Kronfeld and her colleagues on the human trafficking and modern slavery working group for inviting us to be a part of the discussion. The Nexus community is full of change-makers and those looking for effective ways to make the most good in the world. We are grateful for the chance to provide information about our programs to this community, and, hopefully, we have inspired and engaged new folks to get involved.”

Nexus is an international network of more than 4000 next generation philanthropists, impact investors and social entrepreneurs representing more than 70 countries. The network works to catalyze new leadership and accelerate solutions to global problems with the vision of a “just and sustainable world that celebrates diversity and governs by the paradigm that ‘we’re all in this together.'”

TAT provides statewide law enforcement trainings in Oregon

Survivor-leader Annika Huff provided training tips to law enforcement in Oregon.

Traveling from Roseburg, to Bend, Salem and Portland, TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier and Survivor-Leader Annika Huff provided training on human trafficking and the victim-centered approach to more than 80 Oregon State Patrol (OSP), Oregon DOT and other law enforcement officers during the week of July 24-27.

Providing feedback on the training, Officer Jeff Johnson of the OSP, said, “I thought it was a powerful presentation which opened my eyes to a different/new understanding about the sex/slave trafficking industry. I was blown away by her (Huff’s) story and am grateful she was willing and able to share it with us to help us be better police officers. Looking back, I think I may have encountered at least one situation like this on a traffic stop, and I believe this training just improved my chances of not missing one again.”

Lanier stated that feedback was so positive overall that Oregon is now investigating the possibility of having TAT back to cover the eastern and southern portions of the state.

Huff, who partnered with TAT on the training video for Busing on the Lookout (BOTL), survived the crime of human trafficking and was a runaway youth. After testifying against her trafficker, he was convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He was the first person in the state of Nevada to be found guilty of sex trafficking in a court of law.

Huff speaks publicly to educate the community on the issue of human trafficking. She has spoken in juvenile halls to youth, works as an advocate at a direct service provider for human trafficking survivors and has trained various hospitals, tattoo shops, police departments, fire departments, and hotels to notice the signs of human trafficking and know what they can do to prevent this crime. Huff has served as a keynote speaker or presenter at conferences throughout the country, including Shared Hope Conference, Dignity Health Security Summit, Saratoga Springs 2nd Annual CSEC Conference and the Arizona Fire Chief Association Conference. She has also spoken for statewide programs such as Victims of Crime and has testified for state wide human trafficking bills.

TAT NEWS FROM THE JULY 2018 NEWSLETTER

Truckers Against Trafficking holds first coalition build in Montana

Montana Highway Patrol officers tour the Freedom Drivers Project.

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) joined the Montana Motor Carriers Association and the Department of Justice in June for a coalition build in Billings, Montana. Over 50 participants from law enforcement, trucking, busing, truck stops and convenient stores attended. The law enforcement panel at the build shared various ways industry members can help them find and arrest traffickers, and the lessons they’ve learned from working human trafficking cases.

Follow-up surveys revealed that attendees were enthusiastic about TAT’s message and making the training a priority at their companies. Additionally, Montana law enforcement has already invited TAT to return next February to do more extensive training. And they are planning to adopt portions of the Iowa MVE model.

Other results of the build include:

    • TAT will be working with law enforcement to ensure all weigh stations, ports of entry and rest areas are stocked with TAT materials.
    • Montana Highway Patrol has requested TAT materials and will be showing TAT’s law enforcement video to all troopers during their annual training in November.
    • Montana Motor Carriers Association and the Department of Justice will begin working with TAT to get TAT’s training added to the CDL curriculum in the state of Montana.

Assistant Montana Attorney General Ole Olson addressed the audience during the panel presentation.

“This is our first joint event with the Montana Motor Carriers Association and the DOJ in Montana, so it is especially gratifying to see trucking and law enforcement take the training to heart and work together so well to bring an end to this crime,” said Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist. “And we want to thank Hot Express and Swift Transport for hauling the Freedom Drivers Project to and from the build!”

Great Dane ‘puts on the dog’ as it hosts the Freedom Drivers Project

Snow cones, cotton candy, popcorn and giant cookies were all part of the Great Dane celebration as it hosted the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) at its Statesboro plant and Savannah corporate office in June.

Tim Rader from the Walmart Road Team stopped by to chat with FDP Director Helen Van Dam at the Great Dane event.

At the Statesboro plant, where Great Dane makes its refrigerated trailers, the company also gave raffle tickets to everyone who walked through the FDP, entering them in a drawing for Great Dane “swag.” Even on their tight plant schedule, folks made time to come through before work, on breaks, over lunch and after work. At the corporate office, almost everyone came through the FDP. They also invited the human resources team from Gulfstream, whose office is across the street, and many of them came through as well.

“We had a fantastic time working with Great Dane staff and meeting the hundreds of folks who toured the FDP and attended our training sessions,” said Helen Van Dam, FDP director. “We’re so grateful to Great Dane and Madelaine Whalen, Melissa Long, and Susan Dober for all their work to make these events successful! We had a great response. At Statesboro, I spoke to all the department heads who walked through the FDP, and at the corporate office, I made two afternoon presentations. Great Dane employees volunteered with me to help host the trailer, and their interns helped me tear down at the end of the day.”

“Truckers Against Trafficking is mobilizing an entire network by educating and empowering transportation professionals to recognize and report human trafficking,” stated Chris Hammond, vice president of sales at Great Dane. “Members of the trucking industry are in a unique position to actively support this mission and to demonstrate our deep commitment to this country and the safety of its citizens. Great Dane is proud to support this admirable cause, including our support of the TAT’s Freedom Drivers Project. This traveling exhibit is a great way to spread awareness and inform more people of TAT’s mission and the realities of domestic sex trafficking. We encourage our friends and partners to join us in supporting TAT so together we can combat this heinous crime.”

Late in June, the FDP traveled to Washington state for the Washington State Patrol’s Inspector’s Challenge and the Washington Trucking Association’s Truck Driving Championships. “Getting the opportunity to work with so many of Washington’s finest was a true pleasure,” commented Van Dam. “I spoke to all the participating officers and drivers, sharing about the reality of human trafficking, what TAT is doing about it and the vital role they have to play in ending this heinous crime.”

TAT Shipping Partner Praxair, Inc. hosts TAT at global headquarters

Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director, urged people at Praxair, Inc. to do their part in fighting human trafficking.

Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director, spent a day at Praxair’s global headquarters in Danbury, Connecticut speaking with corporate officers and presenting at a lunch and learn event attended by over 100 employees. As one of the avenues Praxair pursues in meeting its sustainable development goals, the company has partnered with TAT for two years, training its private fleet and contracted carriers as well as providing sponsorship support at the silver level through its Global Giving Program.

According to Dr. Riva Krut, vice president and chief sustainability officer, the feedback given directly to Cyrus from both leadership and employees was very positive. “For many in the audience, this is/has been an eye-opening issue,” stated Dr. Krut. “As can be seen with Praxair businesses and drivers, Praxair leaders and employees take this issue very seriously. We are proud of the work Praxair is doing with TAT and proud to be a TAT supporter.”

praxair logo“We were so pleased to bring the TAT message to the Praxair headquarters,” said Cyrus. “True corporate partnership is about helping to extend the TAT education beyond just drivers or contractors; it’s about equipping everyone within a company with the tools and training they need to recognize and respond to human trafficking. This employee event was a fantastic opportunity to do just that. We are thrilled with the ways Praxair has helped to spread our message, and I look forward to the deepening of our partnership to ensure that more folks are engaged with this work and able to be change-makers alongside the hundreds of thousands of others empowered with this message. I am also so grateful to the entire leadership at Praxair for their time ahead of the event, and for their positive response and support of our work. Thank you!”

New England Bus Association learns about human trafficking

BOTL Director Annie Sovcik provided training materials to interested companies and individuals at her booth at NEBA.

Speaking at the New England Bus Association annual meeting in Westbrook, Connecticut in late June, Busing On The Lookout (BOTL) director Annie Sovcik educated the audience on human trafficking, its intersections with the bus industry and the BOTL training program to help combat this crime.

“I hear this, and it makes me angry” said Mitch Guralnick, vice president of pre-owned coach for Motor Coach Industries (MCI), and plenary session speaker at the conference. “Most of us in this room have kids. I think about my kids and I want this to end. We can all play a role in ending this horrible crime.”

In attendance at this conference were long-distance bus companies, tour and charter bus operators, school bus contractors, manufacturers and suppliers operating in the northeast.

In addition to speaking, Sovcik also manned a BOTL booth. She felt there was widespread recognition on the part of the bus companies, manufacturers and suppliers that this was an important issue in their region, particularly given the millions of people taking buses between major metropolitan areas along the I-95 corridor from DC to Baltimore to Philadelphia to Trenton to Atlantic City to Newark to New York to Boston, etc.

TAT invited to speak at Canada’s Human Trafficking Investigators Course

Kylla Lanier (left), TAT deputy director, was one of the presenters at the Canadian Human Trafficking Investigators Course, along with Lt. Donna Gavin from Boston, head of Boston’s sex trafficking unit.

Members of Canada’s famous Royal Canadian Mounted Police listened to Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, present on Human Trafficking Pipeline Techniques on June 29 in Halifax, Nova Scotia at Canada’s Human Trafficking Investigators Course. Using traffic-stop case studies and ways to successfully engage the trucking and busing industries to be extra eyes and ears for law enforcement on the nation’s highways and roads, Lanier was able to demonstrate how to close loopholes traffickers often exploit.

“This is the first investigators’ college in Halifax, and this is the first human trafficking training this province has received,” commented Lanier. “They brought in top investigators from York and Montreal, as well as the United States. We hope that when we expand TAT into Canada, we will continue to build relationships with investigators and law enforcement officers around the nation to close loopholes to traffickers and exploiters.”

TAT NEWS FROM THE JUNE 2018 NEWSLETTER

Truck Driver Arian Taylor receives 2018 Harriet Tubman Award  from Truckers Against Trafficking

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, presented Arian Taylor the Harriet Tubman Award and the $2500 check.

Ballard Trucking driver Arian Taylor from Nicholasville, Kentucky has been named the 2018 Harriet Tubman award winner by Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) for helping a woman escape from an attempt to forcibly sex traffick her.

The award, which carries with it a $2500 check, is named in honor of famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman, whose courageous personal actions resulted in the transportation of 300 slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad and whose overall role in the freedom movement was instrumental in the freeing of thousands more. Born into slavery in 1820, Miss Tubman was the first African American woman buried with full military honors and the first to have the inaugural Liberty ship named after her – the SS Harriet Tubman – by the US Maritime Commission.

“Because of Harriet Tubman’s connection to transportation through the Underground Railroad and her heroic work to free thousands of slaves, TAT believes she embodies the symbol of freedom a trucking anti-trafficking award represents,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “This award was created to honor members of the trucking industry whose direct actions help save or improve the lives of those enslaved or prevent human trafficking from taking place. Arian Taylor’s actions certainly epitomize that!”

In January of this year, Taylor pulled into a California business to make a  delivery at 3:30 a.m. Shortly thereafter, he received a knock on his cab door from a 19-year-old woman. He learned from her that her friend’s older boyfriend was trying to force her into prostitution. After she had refused and argued with him, he dumped her in the parking lot and sped off. She was cold,  exhausted, had no money or identification, was carrying everything she owned in her arms and was desperate to get back home to a neighboring state. Taylor assured her of his help. After getting her warm and giving her water to drink, he looked at one of the two TAT stickers prominently displayed on his windows (which the victim had been eye-level with when she knocked on his door) and called the National Human Trafficking Hotline. They worked with him to secure the woman shelter for the night, a pre-paid cab ride to get her to that shelter and a chaperoned train ride back to her home the next day, where she was reunited with a family member. Taylor took care of the young woman until she was placed in the cab, and even gave her his personal cell phone number in case she needed anything else.

Taylor stated, “Freedom is a privilege that every human being should have and being identified with a freedom fighter like Harriet Tubman has totally enriched my life to keep that fight alive at all costs.”

Taylor received the Harriet Tubman Award and check from Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, at the Protective Insurance Protective 500 Event in Indianapolis, IN, on May 26. Protective Insurance partners with TAT.

“As a company deeply rooted in transportation, we firmly believe in Truckers Against Trafficking’s mission to harness the power of trucking industry personnel to end human  trafficking,” said Matt Thompson, executive vice president of sales and marketing at  Protective Insurance. “Our annual Indianapolis 500 weekend celebrates many traditions — the race, our longstanding partnerships with our customers, and the spirit of Indianapolis. We thought it would be an incredible opportunity to also celebrate Arian’s heroic efforts and all of the lives that have been saved thanks to truckers making that call to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.”

TAT invited to speak to global purchasing managers by Ford Motor Company

In front of the Freedom Drivers Project at the Ford event, Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director, spoke to people individually about how they could be involved in the fight against human trafficking.

Speaking to approximately 400 purchasing managers brought together from around the globe by Ford Motor Company for education, empowerment and ideas to drive ethics, transparency and impact, Laura Cyrus, operations director for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), asked the buyers in the room to consider having casual conversations with their suppliers about TAT and how those suppliers — acting as shippers — may be able to encourage the carriers moving their products to become trained with TAT materials.

The event, titled Driving a Better Tomorrow, and held at Ford Motor Company World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan on May 14, featured, along with TAT, a panel on business ethics, with Hua Thai-Tang, Ford’s executive vice president of product development and purchasing, John Viera, Ford’s global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters; and Becky Burtless-Creps, specialist leader compliance and ethics at Deloitte and Touche LLP. Leah Butler, vice president of the Responsible Business Alliance, also presented on responsible sourcing and conflict minerals.

“Ford recognizes the responsibility it has as a global company to advocate for human rights and a more sustainable supply chain,” said Jackie Watt, director of supply chain sustainability at Ford Motor Company. “We are proud to support the work that organizations like Truckers Against Trafficking do to help companies and consumers make a real difference.”

“This was an incredible opportunity to bring the TAT message to global leaders in automotive purchasing. It’s my hope these buyers will take our message to everyone they know that moves product from Point A to Point B and encourage them to get involved in this important work,” Cyrus said. “A huge thank you to Ford Motor Company for inviting us to be a part of this special meeting and empowering their folks with this information.”

TAT’s Freedom Drivers Project trailer was also on hand, prominently displayed in the front parking lot of the Ford World Headquarters building. Employees from a wide variety of jobs within Ford — from security guards and engineers, to statisticians and human rights and sustainability folks — took the time to walk through the exhibit and consider the topic of human trafficking.

California Trucking Association announces partnership  with anti-trafficking group Sacramento Together

At the press conference, trucking and law enforcement representatives chatted about their enhanced partnership fighting human trafficking. Here, Eric Sauer, left, of the California Trucking Association, talks with California Highway Patrol Captain Sean Duryee.

With more than 1,100-member companies, operating more than 400,000 trucks within California, the California Trucking Association (CTA) announced its partnership with “Sacramento Together,” a coalition of law enforcement, state and local agencies, and community-based organizations working together to combat human trafficking and exploitation in the Sacramento community. Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), along with CFI driver and Harriet Tubman award winner Kevin Kimmel, presented at the press conference.

“Combating human trafficking is a top priority for our members,” said CTA’s President Lynnette Brown. “Through our ongoing work with Truckers Against Trafficking, we’ve been able to provide training and resources to the men and women in the trucking industry who, as the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways, are able to play an important and unique role in helping to identify and end human trafficking.

“Through this partnership with Sacramento Together, we are expanding our efforts to raise awareness, and funnel critical information from our members to appropriate law enforcement agencies and DA’s offices and put an end to human trafficking,” added Brown.

“Traffickers move victims around to make sure they are never in one place long enough to get help,” said Kevin Kimmel, truck driver for CFI. “The training I received from TAT allowed me to recognize the signs of human trafficking, report suspicious activity and ultimately help a victim during one of my stops.”

Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, was one of the speakers at the press conference. Others, L to R, were Kevin Kimmel, CFI driver; Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert ; Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Riesig; and California Highway Patrol Chief Brent Newman.

For several years, CTA has been a proud sponsor of Truckers Against Trafficking. “The combination of TAT’s training and materials and the structure that Sacramento Together provides is critical to identifying and stopping human trafficking activities in California,” said CTA CEO Shawn Yadon.

“Truck drivers are a key resource in spotting and reporting crimes as they are taking place,” said Kylla Lanier, deputy director for TAT. “We are pleased to work with CTA and members of the public safety community so that more calls are made and more victims are recovered.”

As a partner with Sacramento Together, CTA will work with Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, Yolo County District Attorney Jeff W. Reisig and their respective offices, as well as the California Highway Patrol to maximize ongoing efforts to train truck drivers and truck stop personnel to identify signs of trafficking and report suspicious activity. This partnership will strengthen efforts to better serve victims of sexual and labor exploitation and increase public awareness of human trafficking.

TAT presents at the Travel Centers of America Leadership Expo

Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist, presented to a large audience at the TAT Leadership Expo in Ohio.

More than 900 people listened to presentations by TAT Field Trainer Beth Jacobs and Coalition Build Specialist Esther Goetsch at the Travel Centers of America Leadership Expo in Sandusky, Ohio on May 16. Jacobs and Goetsch spoke first to store managers and general managers of truck stops and C Stores from across the country and, secondly, to service center managers, directors and corporate staff.

“The audience was engaged, supportive and enthusiastic about TAT’s work and the part they can play in helping law enforcement identify and recover victims of human trafficking,” commented Goetsch. “Thank you TA/Petro for their continued partnership with TAT!”

TAT Board of Directors adds Stephanie Wicky from Ryder System Inc.

The Truckers Against Trafficking Board of Directors has recently added Stephanie Wicky, group director of marketing, supply chain solutions and dedicated transportation for Ryder System, Inc., to its number.

Stephanie Wicky

“Living in the state of Florida, which is listed as having the third highest reported cases of human trafficking and being part of the transportation industry has made this crisis near and dear to my heart,” said Wicky. “I am honored to join the Board of Directors of TAT. I hope to be as involved as possible in the continued success of this organization.”

At Ryder, Wicky is responsible for leading her team in development and execution of a focused business-to-business marketing strategy for two of Ryder’s key business segments: supply chain solutions and dedicated transportation solutions. Prior to that, she served as director of marketing for the rental, used vehicle sales, fleet products, insurance and fuel divisions, working closely with business-unit leaders to drive growth and increase customer loyalty.  She and her team were responsible for the growth of Ryder RedZone, the commercial transportation industry’s only customer loyalty rewards program. In 2015, Loyalty 360 awarded Ryder with the Platinum Award for Best Measurement in Customer Experience, the Gold Award for Most Customer-Centric Culture, and the Gold Award for 360-Degree Customer Experience.

Before joining Ryder in 2014, Wicky served in lead marketing and advertising roles for companies including WCI Communities and J. Walter Thompson Advertising.

She has been a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2015. She has also volunteered with B.E.S.T, Building Empowerment by Stopping Trafficking, in Miami, working on fundraisers to fight human trafficking.

Wicky holds a bachelor of science degree in both marketing communications and broadcast journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

TAT NEWS FROM THE MAY 2018 NEWSLETTER

TAT provides coalition build and law enforcement trainings in Minnesota

TAT Field Trainer Beth Jacobs provided training and tips on a victim-centered approach at the build.

Over the course of several days in mid-April, law enforcement officers, truckers, bus drivers and oil and gas representatives received training from Truckers  Against Trafficking on how to identify and report human trafficking as well as interact with human trafficking victims. Attendees at the various trainings heard from a survivor and sex trafficking experts and also had time to discuss how to work together to close loopholes to traffickers.

At the Minnesota coalition build in St. Paul, over 100 people toured the Freedom Drivers Project which was parked near the meeting location. A press conference before the meeting featured Kevin Otto of Otto Transfer and chairman of the Minnesota Trucking Association, Esther Goetsch of Truckers Against Trafficking and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) Superintendent Drew Evans. The Minnesota BCA hosted the coalition build with TAT.

More than 100 people toured the FDP at the build.

During the four hour-training, over 80 attendees learned about the realities of human trafficking in Minnesota and across the country. They learned about TAT’s many free training resources and specific pathways for each of them to spread the information and TAT’s impact in their industries and departments.

On feedback forms, one trucking company representative shared, “The information provided today will be shared at our company. Trucking touches so many different lives and locations, and this is a great connection.”

Law enforcement trainings help officers recognize truckers, bus drivers as partners in the fight against human trafficking

TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier talked about trafficker recruiting tactics at the law enforcement trainings.

On April 9, TAT presented to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance meeting in Portland, Oregon to help states see the importance of adopting the Iowa MVE model. In the audience were representatives from the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, law enforcement officers and various trucking organizations. Following the presentation by TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier, Captain Michael Krumm from the Michigan State Police made an “inspiring and compelling pitch” to people with connections/relationships in those states which haven’t yet adopted the Iowa MVE to make human trafficking a priority and adopt the model. As a result of the training, five states not previously participating with IA MVE or TAT are showing interest and are receiving follow-up.
The following day, Lanier and TAT Field Trainer Tajuan McCarty trained 39 law enforcement officers and representatives from Western Trucking in Nashville, Tennessee. They provided a human trafficking 101, an overview of Truckers Against Trafficking’s work and the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement model currently adopted in part or whole by 35 states, case studies of interdiction and inspection stops that led to a human trafficking case and survivor testimony and training tips, including maintaining a victim-centered approach.

This same training was provided in Minnesota by Lanier and TAT Field Trainer Beth Jacobs a little over a week later to a variety of law enforcement, including the Minnesota State Police and members of their commercial vehicle unit. The feedback from trainings in both states was positive, with Minnesota agreeing to expand TAT wallet card distribution at all weigh stations and ports of entry throughout the state. Additionally, through the Minnesota State Police, there is now a pending event on the calendar to train school bus drivers in the state.

“Law enforcement officers are on the front lines of this fight against human trafficking, and TAT’s work to both raise up an army of truckers to serve as the eyes and ears out on our nation’s roadways, as well as to equip law enforcement with as many tools as we can to facilitate the investigation and apprehension of criminals and recovery of victims, is a critical element of TAT’s mission,” stated Lanier. “It’s a privilege to work with these officers and deliver these trainings and materials to them to add to their arsenal as they continually seek to combat this heinous crime.”

Certified TAT program available on internal learning management system  at Wheaton World Wide Moving/Bekins Van Lines

After hearing Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director, present at the annual conference of the American Moving and Storage Association in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Dennis Whitaker, safety director for Wheaton World Wide Moving/Bekins Van Lines, put a plan in action to make the certified TAT training program available on his company’s Learning Management System (LMS). He and Amy Warner, senior associate in training and communication, have sent a memo to inform everyone, from agents and drivers to corporate staff, of the addition of this course on their platform, including the 26-minute training video, the quiz and the co-branded certificate. In that memo, they included a recent TAT in Action success story to show the impact of the training.

Whitaker commented, “The Bekins and Wheaton family of agents and drivers proudly supports the efforts of Truckers Against Trafficking against human trafficking. We are providing training to our network to assist in identifying and assisting endangered individuals.”

Freedom Drivers Project gains fans at UPS in Virginia

Charlton Paul, UPS driver, helped distribute TAT materials at the FDP.

The Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) spent three days between UPS Freight and Small Pack in Richmond, VA, where over 500 employees toured the mobile exhibit. In addition to having the FDP in front of their offices and the Man-to-Man banners on display, Truckers Against Trafficking had the opportunity to partner in presentations with Barbara Amaya, an award-winning advocate, speaker, trainer, and author in a packed-out training.

Helping TAT’s Helen Van Dam staff the FDP at UPS were UPS All-Star Team Drivers and TAT Ambassadors Charlton Paul, Rick Brown and John McKown.

“UPS Freight has hauled the Freedom Drivers Project all across the country,”  said Helen Van Dam, FDP director, “so it was fantastic to finally bring it to their headquarters to meet  all the folks who’ve made those miles possible.  Employees really took the message to heart, taking materials for their friends and families as well as materials to share with others throughout UPS. Thank you for really owning our mission as your own; your impact has not gone unnoticed.”

UPS Freight President Rich McArdle said, “At UPS, we’re committed to giving back to the communities where we work and live. It’s an honor to host the Freedom Drivers Project at our headquarters. The more people we can educate about what to do when they suspect human trafficking, the more we can make a difference in our communities.”

Partnering with TAT to Meet Corporate Social Responsibility Goals

Caring for people and the environment isn’t just the responsibility of individuals … it’s up to organizations and companies as well to share in that work.  For corporate social responsibility to have a national and international impact, it will take everyone doing their part. Partnering with TAT provides a way to help meet at least one of the sustainable development goals set for companies by the United Nations – that of caring for people. Email TAT at tat.truckers@gmail.com to learn more about how you can work with us on the development and implementation of company policy to fight human trafficking.

TAT NEWS FROM THE APRIL 2018 NEWSLETTER

Arian TaylorGive now to double your money and impact!

The best purchases you make are those that give you the results you want. Read this short account from Arian Taylor of the impact TAT’s training and window stickers are making … not just to those who are trained, but, most importantly, to the lives of those they encounter, who need their help.

“Our friends at Change A Path have extended a matching grant challenge from March through May of up to $45,000 for both new gifts and increased gifts from current donors,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “We love this goal, because it will enable us to diversify our revenue streams, enhance our sustainability as an organization and expand our capacity to do the work, which will make more stories like Arian’s a reality.”

Give now and let your money do double duty in the fight against human trafficking!

Busing On The Lookout (B.O.T.L.)Busing on the Lookout and the American Bus Association announce partnership

A new partnership between Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) and the American Bus Association (ABA), the industry leader advancing North American motorcoach travel and tourism, will significantly increase the engagement of America’s busing employees in the fight against human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a disgrace on American roadways that needs to be eradicated,” said ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso. “Many of our members already participate in human trafficking awareness training for their employees. We look forward to participating in the collective effort with Busing on the Lookout. We have a very diverse industry and ABA wants to be the key connector to the industry with this great program.”

The ABA plans on assisting TAT by sharing information about BOTL with its members, facilitate introductions between BOTL staff and ABA members, open doors for BOTL presentations at ABA council meetings, participate in coalition builds and offer advice and consultation as industry experts on ways to further engage ABA members as BOTL partners.

American Bus Association aba
“We are grateful to the ABA for its commitment to combating this heinous crime,” stated Annie Sovcik, BOTL director. “And we are optimistic that through this partnership, we are taking a significant step forward in creating another mobile army on our roadways that can help disrupt trafficking networks.”

 

 

Proud To Be A Trucker Against Trafficking TshirtHave you got your TAT on?

Let people know you’re proud to be a Trucker Against Trafficking (TAT). Get your TAT on! A variety of T-shirts, hats and the large 11×14 inch TAT decals are available through the online TAT store. Every item is made in America and carries the TAT logo. T-shirts come in multiple sizes and three designs. Help spread awareness about your and trucking’s involvement in the fight against human trafficking … wear TAT apparel that will start a conversation with those who need to know how they, too, can be involved.

 

mid-america trucking show

Helen Van Dam, FDP director and John McKown, UPS driver and ATA Road Team captain, educated people on human trafficking at MATS.

Mid-America Trucking Show enables TAT to meet, greet and reconnect

John McKown, UPS driver and America’s Road Team captain, joined TAT staffers Laura Cyrus, Helen Van Dam, Ashley Smith and Annie Sovcik to work the TAT booth at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) March 22-24 in Louisville. The team connected with over 3000 show participants, engaging in conversations with drivers, fleet owners and others from the trucking industry.

“We heard from many folks who had known about TAT previously but had yet to really connect the dots and experience a sense of just how important it was for them to be on the lookout for evidence of trafficking,” said Cyrus, TAT operations director. “We also spoke with a number of people who had never heard about our work, or even human trafficking. They were left stunned and yet motivated to be a part of these real and tangible efforts.”

“What was powerful about each of the interactions we have with people at MATS, is that regardless of their prior knowledge of human trafficking, we get to take each of them on that next step deeper into their anti-trafficking journey,” concluded Van Dam, FDP director.

To read an article from Wave 3 News on TAT at MATS, click here.

Truckers Against Trafficking MTA Safety Award

Showing off their awards, from left to right, Larry Larson, Great West Casualty Company (Great Western sponsored the award); Kathleen Eberle, president, NPO Transportation; Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director; Inspector Patrick Morris, MSP-CVED; and Ruth Johnson, Michigan Secretary of State

TAT joint winner of the Michigan Trucking Association Truck Safety Partner Award

Following a successful joint undercover operation in December by the Michigan State Police, with the help of Truckers Against Trafficking and NPO Transportation, which made commercial motor vehicles available for the operation, all three entities were honored by the Michigan Trucking Association (MTA) at their Safety Awards banquet on March 20 in Lansing.

The undercover operation resulted in several sex-offense-related arrests and the development of intelligence to be used in continuing human trafficking efforts.

Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director, accepted the Truck Safety Partner Award for Truckers Against Trafficking.

Talking about the award and the trucking industry’s commitment to fight human trafficking, Greg Causley, Causley Trucking and president of the Michigan Trucking Association, said, “Truckers Against Trafficking continues to push the message, and continues the commitment to law train enforcement. Kathleen Eberle, president of NPO Transportation, is an excellent example of the trucking industry’s dedication to this worthy cause. All NPO Transportation employees are trained to spot and report this crime along the road after Kathie was specifically moved by a TAT presentation held during an MTA conference. For their commitment to this very important cause, the Michigan Trucking Association is proud to present the joint safety award to Laura Cyrus, representing TAT, Inspector Pat Morris, representing the Michigan State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, and Kathleen Eberle, president of NPO Transportation.  Thank you for your dedication to this worthy cause and for your commitment to keeping our roads and families safe.”

“It’s humbling to be honored alongside those that are out doing this important work: our partners in law enforcement and members of the trucking industry that have been trained to help aid in the reporting of this crime that they are literally seeing before their eyes,” commented Cyrus. “TAT has worked diligently over the years to train not only the industry but also law enforcement and state patrol on how the two can work together to close loopholes to traffickers and help see that victims are recovered. We’re thankful for our partnerships with Michigan State Patrol, the Michigan Trucking Association, and companies like NPO.”

TAT News from the March 2018 Newsletter

With a CAP matching grant, your donation can have double the impact: give now!

Between March and May, Change a Path (CAP), an organization providing financial grants to support not-for-profit organizations working in the sex-trafficking space, is providing a $45,000 matching grant challenge to TAT. For every dollar donated to TAT during those three months, Change a Path will match the amount given, up to $45,000.

CAP began supporting TAT in 2015, and has given $90,000 in funding, both in regular grants and in matching grants, for coalition builds.

“The TAT team is thoughtful, strategic, and committed in their mission to engage and empower the trucking industry to address commercial sexual exploitation in our country,” said Shannon Rogers, CAP founder. “Their tangible work leads to tangible results. We always know that our grant dollars are being used with great efficiency and have a great impact.”

TAT’s 2017 annual report highlights employee engagement:

Trucking members, take a bow … you did great work!

Take time to check out the Truckers Against Trafficking 2017 annual report and see what a powerful presence companies and trucking industry individuals are making in the fight against human trafficking. From coast to coast, innovative thinking, passionate participation and the desire to make a difference are characterizing members of the trucking industry and resulting in collective achievements in this national effort.

Truckers Against Trafficking launches demand campaign in Washington, D.C.

TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier was one of the speakers at the press conference launching the Man-to-Man Campaign.

At a press conference Feb. 21 at the American Trucking Associations (ATA) Capitol Hill Office in Washington, D.C., Truckers Against Trafficking launched its Man-to-Man Campaign before professional drivers, including the American Trucking Associations America’s Road Team, representatives from national trucking organizations, trucking companies such as UPS and Walmart, Congressional aides and anti-trafficking organizations.

Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, spoke to the campaign’s mission, “The prostituted person, and more recently, the traffickers, have been the focus of attention and arrests, while the buyer goes home with a warning. This must change. Traffickers meet the demand for commercial sex by luring their victims into this life and keeping them there through force, fraud or coercion. If there were no money to be made, they wouldn’t pursue this criminal activity.”

To that end, TAT created the Man-to-Man Campaign, featuring a “TAT portrait” of some of the best professional drivers in the trucking industry, due to the fact that they are not purchasing, and instead, are keeping an eye out to aid in the recovery of women and children forced into slavery. These portraits will be used on TAT’s website, social media pages, on banners at speaking presentations around the country, and, in particular, flanking the Freedom Drivers Project. On the TAT website, each driver will be given a brief profile, and there will be resources highlighting the link between commercial sex and sex trafficking, and action steps individuals and companies can take toward eradicating demand.

According to national survey results from Demand Abolition, 20 percent of adult men ages 18-64 have bought or would consider buying commercial sex if the circumstances permitted. Further, approximately 35 percent of men have searched online sex ads but not engaged in the transaction. Data suggests that of the men who search online sex ads, most of their search activity happens during the work day, and many prostitution transactions happen on the way to work, during lunch, or immediately after work.

With this campaign, TAT hopes more men will challenge the attitudes and actions of one another when it comes to the demand for commercial sex and that companies will create policies and training that will also discourage the purchase of commercial sex and help change mindsets and actions of employees. Increasingly, major transportation brands and corporations are positioned to leverage their industry leadership and economic influence to raise awareness about the issue and effect change.

“Our industry’s voice is powerful. From truck drivers to dock workers to dispatchers throughout the supply chain, if we can continue talking to one another about the atrocity that is human trafficking, we can make substantial progress toward our goal of eliminating it,” said ATA COO Elisabeth Barna. “Now that our industry is aware that human trafficking is a problem, we want to challenge trucking to take the next step in its eradication. That starts by having difficult conversations with people in our communities, but we know we’re up for the challenge.”

For this campaign, TAT developed key partnerships with Demand Abolition (DA), which seeks to abolish the illegal commercial sex industry in the United States by eradicating the demand for purchased sex, and Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), which collaborates with public and private employers to prevent sex trafficking and offers a variety of services and resources that empower employers to foster a workplace culture that protects the brand and inspires employee engagement.

While TAT has developed the resources on its demand campaign webpage, as well as officially launched the overall effort, it will work together with DA and BEST to engage individuals and companies in efforts to eradicate demand, as well as keep the cultural conversation going. Moreover, through its partnership with the American Trucking Associations America’s Road Team, Walmart, and additional participating companies, TAT has not only developed these portraits, but worked with the professional drivers so they can speak to the media, targeted audiences and members of the general public about the issue of demand and TAT’s broader industry efforts.

TAT hires to expand outreach to busing and oil and gas

Looking to expand both its outreach to the busing industry and to the oil and gas industry, Truckers Against Trafficking announces its two latest hires, Annie Sovcik, Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) program director, and Ashley Smith, oil and gas program manager.

Annie Sovcik

Annie Sovcik

Sovcik joined TAT in January 2018 with over 12 years of experience as a human rights lawyer, working on anti-human trafficking, anti-torture, and refugee protection policies at a national and international level. Prior to TAT, Sovcik was the director of the Washington D.C. office of the Center for Victims of Torture. She has also worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Human Rights First and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. She is a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law and received her B.A. in international studies from the University of Denver.

“Since joining TAT,” Sovcik said, “I have been consistently amazed by what a significant difference such a small group of committed staff have been able to make. The partnership model that TAT embraces — enrolling industry leaders and empowering key personnel within the trucking industry to recognize and report human trafficking throughout the country — has generated a ripple effect that is far-reaching and deeply impactful, literally touching hundreds of thousands of lives. I’m already starting to see an inspiring level of interest on the part of the bus industry to get involved the way truckers have and am optimistic that the bus industry will tackle this challenge with grace and vigor — and am really excited to help make that happen!”

Ashley Smith

Also joining the TAT team in January, Smith is working to expand TAT’s reach into trucking within the oil and gas industry. She started her professional career as a high school educator, then moved on to work in community relations and training. A graduate of Texas Tech University, she is equipped with both knowledge of and connections in oil and gas.

“It’s exciting to be part of an organization that mobilizes an existing workforce to combat such an important issue,” Smith commented. “I’m ready to harness the energy of our oil and gas industry to fuel the fight against human trafficking.”

Busing on the Lookout already clicking off the miles

In the first two months of this year, Busing on the Lookout (BOTL), TAT’s outreach to the American busing industry to partner with them in the fight against human trafficking, is already in high gear.

Annie Sovcik, BOTL director, has:

      • Presented to the board of directors of the American Bus Association and participated in their annual marketplace in Charlotte, North Carolina.
      • Trained the drivers from Trans-Bridge Lines at Port Authority in New York City.
      • Presented at the Trailways annual shareholder conference in Destin, Florida.
      • Announced a partnership between TAT and the Wisconsin Department of Justice to disseminate the BOTL training.

Bridgestone has been introducing BOTL Director Annie Sovcik (center) to its contacts in the bus industry. Pictured with Sovcik at the Bridgestone booth at the American Busing Association conference are Brad York, mileage sales field manager; Karl Webb, division manager; Warren Dickinson, general manager of mileage sales; Joe Leipart, division manager.

“As I’ve been doing outreach to leaders in the bus industry to make sure they are aware of BOTL and to encourage them to adopt our industry-specific training materials, the response has been incredible,” she said. “The immediate interest on the part of so many — from national, regional, and state associations to companies large, medium, and small — to partner with BOTL and ensure that all of their employees and/or members receive training on human trafficking is a sign that we’re helping to fill a need that has thus far gone unmet. We are so grateful to Bridgestone, the American Bus Association, and Trailways for helping to open doors to industry leaders with us. I also want to recognize Trans-Bridge Lines, which operates in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, for being the first company to commit to training all of its employees with BOTL materials and the Wisconsin Department of Justice for being an early and enthusiastic partner. We still have so much more work to do but are off to a great start!

Law enforcement trainings stimulate new anti-trafficking actions

TAT Field Trainer and Survivor Leader Tajuan McCarty presented at both the Tennessee and Illinois law enforcement trainings.

In the first of multiple law enforcement trainings requested in Tennessee, TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier and TAT Field Trainer Tajuan McCarty met with 43 Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers from across the state and Averitt Express safety directors in Nashville on Feb. 6. A week later, Lanier and McCarty were in Springfield, Illinois, providing training to 110 officers, agents from the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), lawyers from the U.S. Attorney’s office and a handful of anti-trafficking taskforce members who work for different agencies.

Training in both instances consisted of human trafficking 101, an overview of TAT’s work and the Iowa MVE model, case studies of interdiction and inspection stops that led to human trafficking cases and survivor leader testimony and training tips, including taking a victim-centered approach. At both trainings, TAT provided materials to stock scale houses, as well as a law enforcement training video and handouts with local resources and best practices for interacting with potential trafficking victims to the attendees.

As a result of the training, the Tennessee Highway Patrol incorporated the TAT law enforcement video into their orientation and ongoing training protocol; they will be stocking their weigh stations with wallet cards and posters; and they are seeking permission to begin showing the Kevin Kimmel, Everyone a Changemaker video in the weigh stations on a loop.

In Illinois, prior to the training, five of the 29 ports of entry in Illinois were stocked with TAT materials. By Feb. 19, all 29 were scheduled to be stocked. “We also have a contact through Master Sgt. Armstrong with the Secretary of State,” explained Lanier, “who can possibly have a TAT wallet card issued at CDL issuance and renewal. While it is not possible this year as curriculum is set, the Illinois State Patrol (ISP) will look at adding the TAT law enforcement training video to the Academy next year. We were also approached by the U.S. Attorney’s office, which is launching a Central Illinois Task Force, as well as the mayor of a smaller town (also a trooper), who would like us to come back to speak to them as well. We spoke about arranging those events around the next ISP training or train the trainer. The Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) video will be sent to all troops as well as the FMCSA. Individual officers spoke about visiting truck stops and companies in their jurisdictions with TAT materials, but, as of yet, we don’t have a way to gather that information.”

 

TAT News from the February 2018 Newsletter

Arizona Attorney General highlights partnership with TAT at news conference

ONE OF THE ATTENDEES AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE STUDIED THE NEW ARTIFACTS IN THE FREEDOM DRIVERS PROJECT.

At a news conference on Jan. 17 to highlight National Human Trafficking Month, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich joined Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), the Arizona Trucking Association, the grocer Albertsons and Help Inc. to announce new partnership efforts to reduce human trafficking.

Those efforts include placing more than 25,000 TAT stickers on semi-trucks throughout Arizona to encourage victims of human trafficking to seek help. The stickers were purchased with funds donated by the Attorney General’s office, and ask the question Do you need help? with the number and text number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

“I believe that it’s not only education, but it’s about outreach,” said Brnovich. “This is a community effort. It’s not just about prosecutors, it’s about our private sector partners; it’s about the truckers; it’s about all of us coming together to solve a community problem.”

Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, commented, ” It was amazing being part of a united coalition against human trafficking in Phoenix. It was invigorating to stand arm in arm with the Arizona Trucking Association, member companies and TAT shipping partners, along with Attorney General Brnovich, to say we are committed to fighting this scourge together; we will not be daunted in our efforts; and we will continue to pursue justice for victims of this crime. Knowing that another 25,000 TAT window decals will be placed on Arizona fleets to raise awareness about this crime and also provide the hotline number for both drivers and victims, is fantastic.”

ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL MARK BRNOVICH SPOKE AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE IN FRONT OF THE FDP, DRIVEN TO THE SITE BY THE EVERYDAY HEROES TRUCK, OWNED BY J&L TRANSPORTATION.

After the news conference, attendees were encouraged to tour the Freedom Drivers Project, TAT’s mobile exhibit to help educate the public about human trafficking and how the trucking industry is combating it.

“Truckers are on the front lines of this global epidemic. They are our eyes and ears on Arizona highways, and if just one rescue sticker or observant driver helps save a life, then we’ve made a difference,” Brnovich said in a news release.

Arizona companies involved in Truckers Against Trafficking are: AIT Truck Driver Training, Albertsons Companies, American Institute of Trucking, Diamondback Systems, Doudell Trucking, Diamond Tank Lines, Empire Transport, Frontier Insurance Adjusters, HDS Truck Driving Institute, INTL XS Program Managers, J&L Transportation Inc., Knight Transportation, McKee Foods, McLane Foods Service, Minero Trucking, Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, Roehl Transport, Inc., SFS Trucking, Inc., Southwest Truck Driver Training, Swift Transportation, Transportaciones El Angel LLC, UPS, W.W. Williams Co., Werner Enterprises, Western Refining, Western Transport Logistics, Youngs Market Company, Yuma Truck Driving School, and Z Trucking LLC.

TAT goes coast to coast to do coalition builds

In January, TAT went coast to coast, doing one coalition build in Columbia, South Carolina and the other one in Seattle, Washington.

UPS ALL-STAR ROAD TEAM CAPTAINS (L TO R) JOHN MCKOWN, RICHARD BROWN AND CHARLTON PAUL JR. DROVE THE FDP TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA BUILD AND VOLUNTEERED THERE.

Both were well attended by law enforcement and trucking, with about 70 in South Carolina and 60 in Washington. The South Carolina build was held on Jan. 11, National Human Trafficking Day.

“I had the privilege of taking South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and Rick Todd, president of the South Carolina Trucking Association (SCTA), through the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) at the beginning of the day,” said Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist. “They were very engaged and shocked at some of the stories they read. After touring the FDP, we had a press conference outside at which AG Wilson announced they have invited SCTA to join the human trafficking task force. This is very exciting, because it’s one of our long-term goals with the coalition builds.”

At the build, the training and law enforcement panels focused on training law enforcement how to work with victims, how to document well in order to corroborate these cases, as well as ways that trucking can play a critical role in helping law enforcement identify these cases.

The SCTA has already named goals they’ll be working on in addition to joining the task force, including contacting the DMV about adding TAT wallet cards with issuance and renewal, playing TAT’s training video at their locations and having their road team captains join TAT’s Ambassadors Program. SC Highway Patrol has committed to getting all weigh stations stocked with TAT materials and training all CVE troopers with TAT’s LE training video.

“Thank you to UPS  for hauling the Freedom Drivers Project and to their All-Star road team captains who helped out,” commented Goetsch.

FROM LEFT, ESTHER GOETSCH, TAT COALITION BUILD SPECIALIST, SOUTH CAROLINA ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON AND SOUTH CAROLINA TRUCKING ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT RICK TODD SPOKE AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE AS PART OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA BUILD.

The Seattle build was co-hosted with the Washington Attorney General’s office at their office and the Washington Trucking Association. Participants were split fairly evenly between law enforcement and companies such as Microsoft, Costco, Foster Farms and other trucking companies, as well as truck stops. Also in attendance were representatives from Change A Path, Best Alliance, Department of Licensing and the Federal Motor Carriers Association.

Washington is focused on reducing demand for sex trafficking, therefore, a lot of the discussion centered on ways they’ve been successful going after buyers, legislation that would increase funding for services for victims and some of the tactics law enforcement use to try and recover victims and arrest buyers. The panel had local, state and federal law enforcement, including FBI, FUSION Center, Lakewood PD and Washington State Patrol.

“The TAT coalition build brought together one of the most diverse groups of individuals for a human trafficking event that I have been a part of,” commented Farshad Talebi, assistant attorney general of the Washington Attorney General’s Office. “I was thrilled to see the enthusiasm from the participants throughout the day. Law enforcement left with plans to partner with the trucking industry on investigations and operations; and participants from the trucking industry and other sectors left with a sense of empowerment to bring about change within their organizations.”

TAT says ‘welcome aboard’ to FedEx Freight

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) announced in January that it is launching education from Truckers Against Trafficking for team members at FedEx Freight, its less-than-truckload unit. It also became a platinum-level sponsor in support of TAT’s work with the trucking industry to combat human trafficking.

“As a company with team members out on our nation’s highways every day, FedEx is proud to support Truckers Against Trafficking in its quest to call attention to, and fight, this serious crime that is impacting lives across the U.S.,” said FedEx Freight President and CEO Mike Ducker. “By educating our team members on what to watch for and empowering them to take a stand, we are committed to making a difference on this issue and look forward to working with Truckers Against Trafficking.”

“The American trucking industry has proven time and again that they are working alongside law enforcement to disrupt trafficking networks and aid in the recovery of victims,” said Kendis Paris, executive director, Truckers Against Trafficking. “The partnership between TAT and FedEx will significantly increase the trained ‘eyes and ears’ along our nations roadways, and we are thrilled to be working with such an industry leader.”

To learn more, click here.

Are you inspiring your employees to fight human trafficking?

If TAT and trucking are to be successful in interrupting trafficking networks, it’s important for companies that partner with TAT to work toward widespread employee engagement among their workforce. In fact, employee engagement is so critical in the fight against this crime, that it is the theme for the 2017 Truckers Against Trafficking annual report, coming soon.

TAT has recently completed a Corporate Engagement section of its website, and encourages everyone to take the time to go through it. In addition to other information, including why someone should decide to support TAT and the sponsorship levels available, there are case studies from a number of companies showing different methods of employee engagement. These include:

      • Don Blake and Inland Kenworth who recruited a host of sponsors and built an Everyday Heroes truck that was later auctioned off to J&L Transportation resulting in an $83,000 donation to TAT.
      • Twin Eagle, who leveraged a series of employee-led fundraisers and executive-matched giving, to raise over $22,000 for TAT in addition to training their staff, donating hauls of the Freedom Drivers Project and volunteering with TAT.
      • Volvo, which hosted a four-day tour of its various facilities for the Freedom Drivers Project, who not only learned to report sex trafficking, but also volunteered, fundraised, took materials to share and engaged local media and law enforcement.
      • Walmart, who trained all its drivers and then encourages and enables them to support TAT by donating thousands of dollars worth of hauls, volunteers hours and expertise.

FROM L, DAVID WILLIAMSON, DIRECTOR OF TALENT SERVICES AND DEVELOPMENT, DEBBIE JOHN, VICE PRESIDENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES, LAURA CYRUS, TAT OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, LEILA PALIZI, COMMUNICATIONS AND EVENTS SPECIALIST, AND JIM SHERTZER, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING STRATEGY AND ANALYSIS, HAVE WORKED TOGETHER TO DEVELOP A PLAN FOR PROTECTIVE INSURANCE TO ENGAGE ITS EMPLOYEES IN ITS PARTNERSHIP WITH TAT.

Protective Insurance is another organization which has recently joined TAT and  which provides a replicable example of employee engagement. The company, which has been insuring trucking for over 80 years, wants to work with TAT to further its mission and goals. To do that, it plans to engage its key stakeholders, including employees, agents, customers and the greater Indianapolis community to continue raising awareness and inspire action in the fight against human trafficking.

Jim Shertzer, director of Marketing Strategy and Analysis at Protective insurance, said, “We’re thrilled to have started off our partnership with TAT on a high note as a result of our meeting in January. We had the opportunity to sit down with Laura Cyrus (TAT director of operations) to evaluate our goals and objectives and create an activation plan we’re confident will create a measurable impact amongst our audiences. We’re very excited to see what TAT and Protective will achieve together in 2018.”

Eric Higgs and Rich McArdle join TAT board of directors

TAT announces the election to its board of directors of Rich McArdle, president of UPS Freight, and Eric Higgs, a vice president of marketing at Bridgestone.

Rich McArdle, who began his UPS career in 1982, working as an operations employee in Louisville, Kentucky, became UPS Freight president in January 2016. In 1985, McArdle was part of the team that initiated UPS International Air service between the United States and Europe. As an industrial engineer, he developed operating plans for further expansions to Canada, Japan, Southeast Asia and Central America. He capped off his Louisville assignment by running UPS’s Import and Export Division.

In 1997, McArdle began a series of relocations in which he took on a variety of roles. First, he ran air and ground operations in Colorado, then did the same in Southern California. In 2007, he became chief operating officer for UPS’s North and South Carolina operations. He joined the UPS Corporate Public Affairs team in 2010 and served as senior vice president of State Public Affairs. Later, he became the managing director for UPS Global Operations Policy. He became president of UPS’s Mid Atlantic District in 2015 and held that position until accepting his current role.

McArdle sits on the board of directors for the American Transportation Research Institute and the Virginia Business Council. He is a member of the American Trucking Associations’ Infrastructure Task Force and is a participant in California’s Sustainable Freight Action Plan working group.

Eric Higgs is a vice president of Marketing at Bridgestone, responsible for leading the marketing strategy and efforts for the Commercial group. He has direct marketing leadership of the Bridgestone TBR, Bandag and OTR businesses.

Higgs brings more than 20 years of experience in global marketing to his role at Bridgestone. Prior to Bridgestone, he spent four years at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, where he served as general manager for the Hands & Face category. In his last three years with Kimberly-Clark, Higgs led the Kleenex team on a journey to restore growth of the brand by reversing negative trends on sales, profit, share and penetration. This growth was supported by the launch of an exciting and award-winning commercial program and set the stage for continued category growth. Prior to that, Higgs worked for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum as Marketing director, and spent 18 years at Procter & Gamble in multiple marketing and manufacturing roles.

Higgs earned a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master of business administration from Duke University.

TAT News from the January 2018 Newsletter

Looking ahead as 2018 begins

Last year, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) capitalized on opportunities to expand and deepen relationships with trucking and shipping industry partners as well as with law enforcement agencies around the nation. Highlights include the first international model replication of TAT launched in Mexico with Guardianes del Asfalto last month; new relationships we’re fostering with a number of corporate entities; the release of TAT’s law enforcement training video with over 2000 copies distributed to officers and agencies around the nation; increasing numbers of TAT trained professional drivers and travel plaza employees.

This year, the opportunities we see include expansion into the commercial and school bus industries with Busing on the Lookout (BOTL), a greater presence in the oil and gas industry, continued law enforcement trainings and coalition builds nationwide, a continually busy tour schedule for the Freedom Drivers Project to help raise awareness about human trafficking, and of course, working with trucking companies, travel plazas and trucking schools to see our training implemented as a part of orientation and safety meetings.

“We recognize that for true change to happen in the area of sexual exploitation, we need to continually challenge societal norms that have made it acceptable or perhaps normalized it,” said Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director. “We’re grateful for the men and women, both in the broader anti-trafficking movement as well as within the trucking industry, who are questioning jokes, media and attitudes that minimize this form of exploitation. We are proud to stand with our fellow activists and trucking industry partners against the evil that normalizes the commercialization of people.”

In January, the nation recognizes National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month (See article below.) Organizations and agencies around the nation put on events and conferences to educate their communities about this crime, and to also help point people in a direction where we can take direct action to combat it.

“As we look forward to a full and productive 2018, we want to thank all of our amazing partners, whether trucking companies, trucking schools, corporations, law enforcement officers, shippers, our corporate sponsors, travel plazas, associations and the individual drivers and truck stop employees who make our work possible,” stated Lanier. “We’re grateful for the work that has been happening, is happening now, and will continue into the future, both with those we work with and across the country. We know, with your continued help and partnership, we will continue to advance TAT’s mission which always comes back to our motto: make the call, save lives! We wish you a most wonderful new year!”

Start 2018 with a punch: Join the fight against human trafficking

By presidential proclamation in 2010, January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, with Jan. 11 named as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Throughout this month, and particularly on Jan. 11, many cities and communities, colleges and churches across the nation will hold a series of anti-human trafficking events and activities, host anti-trafficking films, talk about the subject on television and radio, and provide multiple opportunities for community members to become engaged in the fight. It’s a good month and a good day to recommit to the fight to end human trafficking in the United States. Some steps anyone can take to be involved are:

      • Learn to recognize the signs of human trafficking and how to report it to the National Human Trafficking Hotline – 1-888-3737-888 – and to local police.
      • Be an informed consumer and discover your slavery footprint – ask who picked your tomatoes or made your clothes; take steps to influence companies to prevent human trafficking in the supply chains of goods you buy.
      • Volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts in your community.
      • Become informed about human trafficking by watching films about human trafficking or reading books about it.
      • Host an anti-human trafficking event in your community.
      • Organize a fundraiser for and donate to an anti-trafficking organization.
      • Spread awareness about human trafficking in your community.
      • Encourage your schools to include modern slavery in their curricula and educate your own children.

Download the TAT phone app today

If you haven’t downloaded the free TAT phone app for either iPhone or Androids, do so today. It has the National Human Trafficking Hotline number on it as well as red flag indicators and basic information about human trafficking. It only takes a second. Don’t delay; do it today!

TAT News from the December 2017 Newsletter

TAT presented Linking Arms Award by CSAT

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) has received the Linking Arms Award presented by Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT). TAT serves as a CSAT consultant. CSAT empowers the convenience store industry to play a vital role in stopping human trafficking in communities. CSAT is a program of the national nonprofit, In Our Backyard, and is replicating TAT’s overall model of equipping an industry with training and materials in order to recognize and report human trafficking. There are more than 150,000 convenience stores that serve half the U.S. population daily. CSAT has industry partnerships spanning 30 states and more than 6,000 locations.

In presenting the award, Juliana Williams, CSAT director, said, “Thank you for linking arms with us to stop human trafficking in the United States. You have been our model, guide, advisor and champion as we have embarked on our CSAT program. We are so encouraged by your example and honored to be partnered with you in this work.”

Mexico set to launch trucking industry program to fight human trafficking

Consejo Ciudadano, TAT’s partner in Mexico, will launch its trucking industry program, Guardianes del Asfalto, on Dec. 5 in Mexico City. The launch was originally scheduled for earlier in the fall, but an earthquake in Mexico City made that impossible. Bridgestone and UPS, and possibly Praxair, will be in attendance for the press conference, as well as strategy meetings following. TAT will also meet with Consejo Ciudadano to review an in-depth research report on the Mexican trucking industry put together by a group of students from Brigham Young University.

Consejo Ciudadano is a Mexican NGO dedicated to serving the citizens of Mexico through a number of socially responsible programs, most notable of which is running a national crime and human trafficking hotline. It partners with the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline and Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). TAT has been consulting with Consejo Ciudadano, as well as facilitating the introductions to and initial training implementation for major U.S. companies with Mexico-based operations for the launch of Guardianes del Asfalto. Guardianes del Asfalto is a replication of TAT’s model for coming alongside private industry to engage them in the fight against human trafficking. Guardianes del Asfalto consists of an online training for members of the Mexican trucking, bus and taxi industries that will include specific red flag indicators for how each of these occupations may encounter a victim.

Dow partnership strengthens carrier, third-party logistics relationships

Through a series of recent meetings hosted by shipping partner Dow Chemical, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) had the opportunity to connect with more than 100 leaders representing over 30 companies.

Committed to fighting human trafficking through TAT and serious about helping their carriers learn more about TAT’s program, Dow’s NAA Road Logistics Modal Leader Kristen Beck and her team first invited TAT to speak at the Dow Chemical Safety Directors and Core Carriers conferences in Midland, Michigan.

Following that, Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director, was invited to speak at a series of meetings, which took place in mid-November. These included the XPO Carrier Safety and Operations meetings in Aurora, IL, where Joe Burgdorf, program manager, and Alicia Dzurka, transportation analyst, helped communicate to carriers from across the nation the impact they could have by getting involved with the TAT program.

TAT’S LAURA CYRUS PRESENTED AT THE XPO LOGISTICS CARRIER SAFETY AND OPERATIONS MEETINGS.

The week was capped off with the Quest Liner/Foodliner manager’s meeting in Dubuque, Iowa, where Cyrus spoke to the leaders of both companies and encouraged them to not only implement the training across their companies but also take the information home to their dinner tables.

“It’s our responsibility as good people to do all we can to end this horrific crime,” Beck said. “The key to ending human trafficking is through education and awareness. Just imagine if one person took the time to educate family, friends and co-workers, and so on and so forth. Within no time at all, the general public would know what to be on the lookout for. Our children would be aware of the traps set forth to lure them into this horrible world. And incident rates would drop, as human trafficking would no longer be the crime that silently slips by us all.”

To that end, Beck has worked to see that TAT training will be a mandatory requirement for all the carriers Dow hires. That requirement is due to go into effect on April 1, 2018.

ALICIA DZURKA, LEFT, TRANSPORTATION ANALYST AT XPO LOGISTICS, LAURA CYRUS, CENTER, AND KRISTIN BECK, RIGHT, DOW’S NAA ROAD LOGISTICS MODAL LEADER, ALL WORKED AT THE XPO LOGISTICS CARRIER SAFETY AND OPERATIONS MEETINGS.

Carl Recher, chief operating officer for Quest Liner and executive vice president of Foodliner, commented, “Truckers Against Traffickers was brought to my attention by one of our operations teammates several months back, and then the program was showcased in a presentation at the Dow Annual Carrier Meeting. My wife and I are blessed to have two daughters and five granddaughters, so the presentation really hit home for me. I brought the materials back to our leadership team and gave a brief overview with the idea that we allocate some time during our upcoming manger’s meeting for a Truckers Against Trafficking presentation. Laura created time in her schedule for our organization and gave a very upbeat, fact-filled overview of the scope of the problem. Our team came away with a real understanding of the problem and what our group of companies can do to be involved in combatting this ‘epidemic.'”

“Aside from sharing the TAT message and how these companies could get involved from an industry standpoint, it was fantastic to see those in the audience make the important connection back to their own family and friends. Folks could sense the urgency in sharing this information, and I was even made aware of one man who texted his wife immediately after the presentation,” Cyrus said, “and asked her to check out our website and resources, so they could educate their teenage daughters about the realities of human trafficking. That’s powerful. We’re so grateful to Dow and their commitment to get this message out to their carriers and others.”

Coalition builds continue to be impetus for change

A critical component in the fight against human trafficking is the establishment of an effective and sustainable working relationship between the trucking industry and law enforcement statewide. To create this, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) uses its coalition builds.

In 2017, TAT held eight coalition builds in five new states, introduced TAT to the oil and gas industry and educated a total of 281 law enforcement officers, 83 truck stop employees, and 46 members of the trucking industry about human trafficking. Follow-up with attendees and impact reports show that many more people in each of these communities are being educated and trained about human trafficking as a result of the meetings. Attendees become engaged about human trafficking and take the information back to their homes, communities and places of work.

“It is the exponential impact of the coalition builds that is so exciting,” said Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist. “In many states, as a result of the coalition build, extensive parts of the Iowa MVE model have been adopted, including stocking critical locations like weigh stations, rest areas and ports of entry with TAT materials. They have also been an excellent way to introduce TAT’s in-depth law enforcement training to key state agencies and have led to multiple opportunities for future extensive law enforcement trainings.”

The year’s final coalition build took place in the Eagle Ford Shale area at the Conoco Phillips office in Kenedy, Texas. This meeting drew over 87 participants from the oil and gas industry, truck stops and travel plazas, trucking companies, and law enforcement. Survey comments following the build included the following:

“As a woman as well as a truck driver and truck driving instructor, this trafficking hit me with such force that I cannot contain the emotions. Thank you!” – Truck Driving Instructor

“The statistics shared in Kirsta and Esther’s presentations were surprising and insightful to help express the magnitude of this issue. Both were impactful and inspiring to do something to help out.” – Oil and Gas Industry member

TAT News from the November 2017 Newsletter

Truckers Against Trafficking receives highest image award from the American Trucking Associations

Nominated by the presidents of 22 state trucking associations, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) was named one of the 2017 recipients of the Mike Russell Trucking Image Award by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) on Monday, Oct. 23 at the ATA’s Management Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida.

Other award recipients included the Arkansas Trucking Association, Load One and Herschel Evans, Holland Inc.

Tony Bradley, president of the Arizona Trucking Association and the person who prepared the nomination for TAT, received the award for TAT from Elisabeth Barna, ATA’s chief operating officer and executive vice president of industry affairs.

TONY BRADLEY, PRESIDENT OF THE ARIZONA TRUCKING ASSOCIATION, ACCEPTED THE AWARD ON TAT’S BEHALF. PICTURED FROM LEFT: STEVEN SPENCER, HIRERIGHT (AWARD SPONSOR), BRADLEY AND KEVIN BURCH, ATA IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN, JET EXPRESS, INC.

“Since its inception, Truckers Against Trafficking has become a catalyst for change and has helped promote the trucking industry, training professional truck drivers and members of the trucking industry to be Everyday Heroes,” wrote Bradley in the nomination. “They are making a difference and improving the image of the trucking industry. While doing research for this nomination, it occurs to me that several past recipients of the Mike Russell award received their award, in part, for their partnership with TAT.”

The Mike Russell Trucking Image Award celebrates companies, organizations and individuals who creatively generate positive awareness of the trucking industry. Without the support of these leaders, the benefits of an improved image of the trucking industry would not be possible. Submissions are evaluated by an expert impartial panel of judges based on:

      • Creativity – What innovative or novel ways has the nominee promoted the image of trucking over the last year?
      • Frequency and Reach/Impact – Efforts should reach a significant and relevant audience.
      • Execution – All communications in the campaign should reflect the highest standards of quality and professionalism.

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, said, “From the beginning, we asked the trucking industry to become part of the solution for the crime of human trafficking; and this is no easy thing. It requires they recognize their own intersections with victims, buyers and traffickers and turn those encounters into opportunities to report this crime. They have done just that. Truckers, industry executives, manufacturers, truck stop operators, CDL instructors and so many more have stepped up in immeasurable ways, and, as a result, lives are being changed. No one does this work for the recognition, and yet TAT is incredibly honored to receive the Mike Russell Image Award, because it was industry members, our fellow changemakers, who nominated us for it. It is our humble privilege to serve alongside them each and every day in combating this crime, and for this award, and for all of their efforts on a continual basis on behalf of victims everywhere, we thank you.”

Freedom Drivers Project provides education, awareness on tour of East Coast Volvo facilities

On a first-of-its-kind tour of Volvo facilities across four states, Oct. 16-20, the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) drew hundreds of Volvo employees through its doors, while Helen Van Dam, FDP director, trained additional employees through brown bag/lunch and learn meetings.

When asked why it makes sense for Volvo, as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), to take part in fighting human trafficking, Kurt Hollinger, vice president of sales, said, “You look at what we really specialize in on the Volvo product line. We really excel on the truckload products — the sleepers – for the over-the-road guys that are spending a lot of time out on the road and at truck stops. So, it just seems like a natural fit with one of our largest customer bases … and I think it’s important for us to work with and educate them on what can be done out there to combat this issue.”

The FDP began the tour in Greensboro, North Carolina at the Volvo Trucks North America Headquarters. At the lunch and learn, TAT, the North Carolina Highway Patrol, and Volvo shared about joint efforts to combat human trafficking.

Janie Coley, corporate communications specialist, commented, “As the mother of three daughters (16, 12 and 4), I couldn’t help but imagine how frightening it would be if one of my girls became a victim of trafficking. With more than 100,000 to 300,000 children at risk, this issue is widespread. With the training today, I now know what to look for if I suspect human trafficking. I feel better knowing I can contact 1-888-3737-888(US) for help.”

AT EVERY STOP, THE FDP ATTRACTED LARGE GROUPS OF EMPLOYEES.

While Sheri Masters, corporate communications manager said, “So many people who came to this event took the message to heart and began to look for ways they could personally be a part of the solution for human trafficking. It was inspiring to see this commitment and willingness to engage.”

From North Carolina, the FDP traveled to the New River Valley Assembly Plant in Dublin, Virginia, to Volvo Powertrain in Hagerstown, Maryland and then to Volvo Construction Equipment in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. At the New River plant, local law enforcement and state police, impressed with what they were learning, requested additional trainings for their departments. To read a news article about the tour, click here.

VOLVO EMPLOYEES WERE INTENT AS THE LEARNED ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

“I appreciate all the people who not only had the courage to hear these hard stories of human trafficking, but also the foresight to know that if they take action, they could impact someone’s life,” said Van Dam. “It was wonderful to hear how many people wanted to take this information back to their communities, their families’ workplaces and the kids in their lives. Thank you, Volvo Trucks United States, for this tour and all that will come from it.”

Editor’s note: TAT thanks Susan Alt, Kurt Hollinger, Kristyn Angell, Dawn Fenton, Robin Crawford, Janie Coley, Marcus Thompson, Belinda Vinson, Meg Dameron and Kaylee Beattie for their work to make the tour possible. Thank you to the employees at the Hagerstown location who, led by Belinda Vinson, raised about $2500 for TAT before the tour began. And thank you to Walmart for hauling the FDP to Greensboro and Volvo for hauling it the rest of the week.

TAT announces new corporate sponsor levels

The work of fighting human trafficking takes resolve, strategy, dedicated people, resources and money to continually expand the reach of the efforts as well as provide ongoing funding to the work already underway. New research completed by the International Labour Organization and its partners (see article this newsletter) reveals the scale of the crime continues to grow and there is no room for relaxed efforts, either abroad or nationally.

To that end, while TAT gratefully acknowledges we couldn’t have accomplished what we already have without the work and funding of our present partners and sponsors, for the work to continue and reach more broadly into the trucking industry, as well as expand into other critical sectors of transportation, such as busing, and throughout North America, which includes Mexico and Canada, we need more dedicated sponsors, and increased sponsorship funding. To that end, we have created new levels of corporate sponsorships and ask that you please examine them and thoughtfully consider where you, your company or your organization could join us in the work to fight this crime that destroys so many lives:

Freedom Driver — $100,000 and over

All of the Diamond benefits, plus extensive TAT promotion across multiple platforms (website, newsletter, social media, radio) announcing you as a Freedom Driver and overall strategic partner; the development of an internal email campaign for your employees showing the impact of your company investment; and a standing banner displaying your logo at all Freedom Drivers Project events.

Diamond — $50,000 and over

All of the Platinum benefits, plus co-branding our informational brochure with your logo, and a Freedom Drivers Project media event at a location of your choice.

Platinum — $25,000 and over

All of the Gold benefits, plus your logo and a short description of your participation with TAT displayed as one of the scrolling slides on a monitor inside the trailer for one year; and your company promoted through media outlets when the press is in attendance at speaking events.

Gold — $10,000 and over

All of the Silver benefits, plus your company publicly thanked at speaking events as a strategic partner and your logo included in our monthly newsletter.

Silver — $5,000 and over

All of the Bronze benefits, plus your logo displayed on the Freedom Drivers Project for one year and your logo included in our annual report.

Bronze — $2,500 and over

All of the Copper benefits, plus social media promotion.

Copper — $1,000 and over

Your logo hyperlinked on the sidebar of our site, plus your logo, link, and 100-word description on our Sponsor page.

*All sponsorships and the according benefits are considered active for one year.

TAT has over 30,000 followers on Twitter, over 164,000 Likes on Facebook, and a growing Pinterest and Instagram presence. We participate in speaking events across the country nearly every week, and our media engagement has included pieces on CNN, BBC, NPR, Fox News, Forbes, The Washington Times, Huffington Post, MSNBC, as well as many local media outlets across the nation. We have also been featured in nearly every major trucking publication in the United States.

New research reveals human trafficking numbers increasing worldwide

NEW YORK (ILO News) – New research developed jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM),has revealed the true scale of modern slavery around the world. The data, released during the United Nations General Assembly, shows that more than 40 million people around the world were victims of modern slavery in 2016. The ILO have also released a companion estimate of child labor, which confirms that about 152 million children, aged between 5 and 17, were subject to child labor.

The new estimates also show that women and girls are disproportionately affected by modern slavery, accounting for almost 29 million, or 71 per cent of the overall total. Women represent 99 per cent of the victims of forced labor in the commercial sex industry and 84 per cent of forced marriages.

The research reveals that among the 40 million victims of modern slavery, about 25 million were in forced labor, and 15 million were in forced marriage.

Child labor remains concentrated primarily in agriculture (70.9 per cent). Almost one in five child laborers work in the services sector (17.1 per cent) while 11.9 per cent of child laborers work in industry.

Forced Labor

An estimated 25 million people were in forced labor at any moment in time in 2016. Out of them, 16 million people were in forced labor exploitation in the private sector such as domestic work, construction, agriculture. About 5 million persons were in forced sexual exploitation, and just over four million persons (or 16 per cent of the total) were in forced labor imposed by their state authorities.

Forced Marriage

An estimated 15.4 million people were living in a forced marriage at any moment in time in 2016. Of this total, 6.5 million cases had occurred in the past five years (2012-2016) and the remainder had taken place prior to this period but continued into it. More than one third of all victims of forced marriage were children at the time of the marriage, and almost all child victims were girls.

Child Labor

152 million children – 64 million girls and 88 million boys – are subject to child labor and account for almost one in 10 children around the world. The highest number of children aged 5 to 17 engaged in child labor were to be found in Africa (72.1 million), followed by Asia and the Pacific (62 million), the Americas (10.7 million), Europe and Central Asia (5.5 million) and the Arab States (1.2 million). Approximately one third of children aged 5 to 14 engaged in child labor are outside the education system. 38 per cent of children in hazardous work aged 5 to 14 and almost two-thirds of those aged 15-17 work more than 43 hours per week.

“These numbers show us the scope of the problem and the urgency with which we need to work,” declared Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “Every one of us has a critical role to play in fighting this crime and ensuring that all people have the opportunity to live in freedom and safety.”

TAT News from the October 2017 Newsletter

Rasmussen, Blake join TAT Board of Directors

The Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) Board of Directors voted to accept Karen Rasmussen and Don Blake as new members at their August meeting, held at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas.

Rasmussen is the president and chief executive officer of HELP Inc., the provider of PrePass and other commercial vehicle safety services. PrePass allows trucks from fleets with good safety records to bypass truck scales and inspection facilities in 33 states, saving them time and fuel, and reducing operating costs. PrePass also helps enforcementagencies more efficiently focus their safety efforts.

KAREN RASMUSSEN

From 2001 through late 2012, Rasmussen served as the president and CEO of the Arizona Trucking Association (AzTA) and as executive director of the Arizona Transportation Education Foundation (ATEF), a 501(c)(3) incorporated through her efforts and funded through safety grants and industry donations. Under her leadership, AzTA received the Summa Cum Laude award in 2009 for best safety program, and ATEF conceived and produced the well-known “Teens & Trucks” novice driver training video and curriculum through a grant from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Association. Teens & Trucks is still widely used throughout the United States and Canada to teach teens how to drive safely around large trucks.

Prior to 2001, Rasmussen served as director of Government Relations for Ryder System, Inc., the Fortune 500 truck leasing and logistics company. Before joining Ryder, she spent 13 years with the California Trucking Association (CTA)heading CTA’s work in areas ranging from safety, environment, commun-ications, and government relations, and serving as vice president from 1994-1997.

Rasmussen’s experience also includes tenure at the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Montana state legislature.  She currently serves on Arizona’s Freight Plan Advisory Committee, on American Trucking Associations’ Safety Policy and Communications & Image committees and as a member of the ATRI Research Advisory Committee (RAC). Rasmussen has also been named co-chair of a new task force coordinating the 2017 National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.

Throughout her career, Rasmussen has received numerous awards, recognitions and honors. Most recent achievements include winning the Mike Russell Trucking Industry Image Award from American Trucking Associations in late 2016. In May 2016, she was named by Fleet Owner Magazine as one of the Dozen Outstanding Women in Trucking.

“Since I first became aware of TAT through Chief Dave Lorenzen (HELP’s immediate past chair), I’ve developed an avid interest in and support for TAT’s efforts to spread the word about human trafficking and train truck drivers what to look for and how to report it,” Rasmussen explained. “Trafficking is finally getting the attention it deserves, and TAT is on the forefront of doing something about it. I’m proud to be part of this forward-thinking and dedicated organization.”

Don Blake is the new truck sales manager at Inland Kenworth’s flagship store in Tolleson, Arizona and has served in the trucking industry for over 21 years. He is an active member of the Arizona Rock Product Association and the Arizona Trucking Association and was elected to the American Trucking Associations’ board in 2010, serving four years as chairman of their Leadership Conference.

Blake holds a bachelor of science in Industrial Business from Humboldt State University and is graduate of NADA Dealer Academy Program. He holds two patents and loves to invent and tinker.

DON BLAKE

After listening to a TAT presentation in 2016, Blake decided to do something that had never been done before: build a special themed truck and auction it off as a fundraiser for TAT. With the support of Inland Kenworth, including $12,000 toward the project, and Kenworth Truck Co., Blake began talking to corporate sponsors, and through his leadership, raised $89,000 in direct sponsorships and $35,000 in in-kind sponsorships to build the Everyday Heroes truck, a customized 2018 Kenworth T680. The truck was auctioned off in June of this year, netting a donation for TAT of $89,000, the largest one-time gift in the organization’s history.

“The ‘Everyday Heroes’ truck is making a lasting impact,” Blake said, “much more so than we could have ever imagined. It’s gratifying to pull so many people together for a cause and to fight something so awful as human trafficking. Many people have worked to make this possible and it’s just unreal.”

When Inland Kenworth was named the 2017 Successful Dealer of the Year during the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas in August, Blake and the Everyday Heroes truck were singled out as having played a major role in the final decision-making by those selecting the award winner.

“The folks at TAT are awesome,” Blake enthused. “They make you feel good just being around them. It’s an honor to be part of this ‘force of good.’ I look forward to driving Kendis crazy with wild ideas.”

With Hawaii, all 50 state trucking associations now aware of human trafficking through TAT

When Helen Van Dam, Freedom Drivers Project director for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), spoke at the Hawaii Transportation Association annual conference in September, TAT reached a milestone of having presented to all 50 state trucking associations on human trafficking and the role trucking can play in the fight against it.

While statistics show that human trafficking takes place in all 50 states, the National Human Trafficking Hotline shows that since the hotline began in 2007, there have been 469 calls from Hawaii to report suspected human trafficking. These calls have resulted in 166 cases, impacting 475 victims.

“We thank the Hawaii Transportation Association for inviting us to speak at their annual conference this year in beautiful Waikiki,” said Van Dam. “We truly value our partnerships with the state trucking associations. They are the trucking leaders in every state, and we couldn’t do our work without them. Unique to this presentation in Hawaii was the opportunity we had to train the busing industry at the conference, right alongside trucking. We look forward to working with many transportation companies in Hawaii to combat trafficking in the crossroads of the Pacific.”

Sixty-five people listened to Van Dam’s presentation, including representatives from two tour bus companies.

TAT engages business leaders in the fight to end human trafficking through United Way

LAURA CYRUS, TAT OPERATIONS DIRECTOR (CENTER) TOOK PART IN A PANEL DISCUSSION AT THE UNITED WAY CONFERENCE. WITH HER ON STAGE ARE (LEFT) ANESA PARKER, MANAGER FOR MONITOR DELOITTE, AND (RIGHT) LAURA JOHNS, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE RELATIONS AT UPS FOUNDATION.

Laura Cyrus, operations director for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) took part in a panel discussion at the Business Leaders Forum to Combat Human Trafficking, hosted by United Way Worldwide in Alexandria, Virginia in early September. As a part of the Employee Training and Engagement session, she, along with fellow panel members, discussed ways in which each organization was working to foster employee engagement and activation on the issue of human trafficking. The forum was well attended by other anti-trafficking NGOs, supply chain consultants and experts and a variety of business leaders. Shamere McKenzie, a survivor-leader and the CEO of the Sun Gate Foundation, also spoke, offering a message of hope that was unifying and inspiring to all.

“It was an excellent two-day meeting that brought together stakeholders from multiple disciplines to engage in meaningful dialogue and brainstorming about ways we can all continue to work together to combat this heinous crime,” commented Cyrus.

Prize sponsors join TAT in a salute to truckers

Thanks to the generous donations from sponsors, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) was able to give away almost $835 in gift cards and merchandise through Facebook and Twitter to truckers during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, Sept. 10-16.

Blue Tiger, Stay Loaded, Hammerlane, AME International and TA Petro all donated items, including headsets, mini speakers, a nut buddy lug loosening tool, gift cards and t-shirts, in addition to the hats TAT donated, as prizes in the trucker appreciation contests TAT held.

Winners, who all needed to be CDL holders, included drivers Trish Snyder, James Morton, Renee Bragg, Cris Cannon, Justin Koch, Douglas Connolly, David Patterson, Luke Whitecotton, Samuel Michael Robinson, Martin Ortiz, Taylor Barker and Kevin Kitts.

“Without truckers, our entire economy and society would come to an immediate halt,” said Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director. “They are irreplaceable; their work is long, hard and never ending. They provide a service to this country and to each of us that we simply must acknowledge and celebrate. And, on top of that, they are joining in the fight against human trafficking in an amazing show of force that is producing results. We are proud to salute them!”

TAT News from the September 2017 Newsletter

Molly Griffiths and Holly Hudelson join the TAT team

MOLLY GRIFFITHS

Replacing Laura Cyrus, now TAT operations director, as TAT administrative specialist, Molly Griffiths first became passionate about the issue of human trafficking during college where she obtained a degree in psychology. Following graduation, while working at a high school in Los Angeles, Griffiths began to see the many challenges vulnerable youth face and wanted to help prevent some of these issues. To do so, she pursued a master’s degree in criminology at Regis University and will be completing that in December of this year.

“I am so excited to join the TAT team in the fight against human trafficking,” she said. “In my short time here, I have already seen just how influential the trucking industry can be and how many people dedicate their time to try to stop this crime. I look forward to continuing to work with drivers and companies and to build this partnership even further.”

HOLLY HUDELSON

Coming onboard to respond to the influx of calls, emails and needs of truckers and companies in states, like Arkansas, which have made TAT training mandatory for CDL qualification or renewal, Holly Hudelson is TAT’s new certification compliance coordinator. She joined the anti-trafficking movement in 2011 upon learning that the average age a child is first trafficked for sex is 14-15 years old in the United States. She knew she had to do something, so she started volunteering, soon realizing that there was a missing piece to her mission. In 2012, Hudelson and a couple of friends decided to start the non-profit organization Unlock Freedom, focusing specifically on education and awareness in the community and schools. A supporter of Truckers Against Trafficking, she is excited to join the team.

“I’ve only been working with TAT for a couple of weeks, but I’m seeing that the trucking industry is even more massive than I had realized. Truckers truly can make a difference in the fight against trafficking,” she stated.

Oil and gas industry begins participation in TAT coalition builds

With a $26,000 grant, ConocoPhillips has begun helping, in part, with TAT coalition builds in locations where they drill to bring the issue of human trafficking to the forefront of the oil and gas industry. While CAP grant money pays for the majority of coalition build costs, the ConocoPhillips grant money covers the costs for the Freedom Drivers Project to and from the events as well as lunch for all participants.

A REPORTER FROM LOCAL MEDIA INTERVIEWS, FROM LEFT, U.S. SENATOR HEIDI HEITKAMP AND TAT COALITION BUILD SPECIALIST ESTHER GOESTSCH.

The first build, co-hosted by TAT and the office of U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, took place in Bismarck, North Dakota on Aug. 14. The next one is planned for Nov. 29 in Kennedy, TX, near the Eagle Ford Shale.

“The coalition build in Bismarck was a high-level discussion around human trafficking with representatives from the oil and gas industry, the truck stop industry, the trucking industry and law enforcement from the local, state and federal levels,” Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist, said. “It was exciting to see each of these sectors come to the discussion with a desire to make a difference in their community, a willingness to learn how they can play a part and a compassion to join in the hope of recovering more victims.”

In surveys following the event, the 42 attendees made comments including kudos for Survivor-Leader Beth Jacobs for “being brave and sharing,” for all speakers that they were well-prepared and that the build was beneficial to them.

Freedom Drivers Project garners lots of attention at the Iowa State Fair

From the butter cow, the blue-ribbon quilts, the horse shows, and the hypnotist, there was a lot to see at the Iowa State Fair, and thanks to the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement division of Iowa DOT, the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) joined the festivities on opening day.

“We were thrilled to have over 1600 attendees tour the Freedom Drivers Project,” enthused Helen Van Dam, FDP director, “including members of the trucking industry excited to take our materials back to their companies and community members excited to take this information back to their neighborhoods, schools, and families. We couldn’t have hoped for a better first year at the Iowa State Fair. Thank you to TanTara Transportation Corp and ConocoPhillips for helping the Freedom Drivers Project get to and from the fair. ”

TAT again provides training for the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program

PICTURED WITH (FRONT ROW, FROM LEFT) VIRGIL BODEEN, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE CONTRACT INTERNATIONAL VISITOR LIAISON, MOLLY GRIFFITHS, TAT ADMINISTRATIVE SPECIALIST, AND LAURA CYRUS, TAT OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, ARE THE INTERNATIONAL VISITORS WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE TRAINING.

As it has in the past few years, TAT once again provided a “Combating Trafficking in Persons” training on Aug. 18 about working with the trucking industry to fight human trafficking to seven foreign leaders through the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The guests for this training were from Bahrain, Chile, Finland, Ghana, Libya, Lithuania and Vietnam. TAT has participated in this program for several years in the hopes that it will help combat human trafficking and that other countries may consider adopting its model in full or part to work with the trucking industry in those lands.

New exhibits in Freedom Drivers Project intrigue GATS attendees

BOARD MEMBER MOLLY WOLFF TALKED WITH HUNDREDS OF TRUCKING INDUSTRY MEMBERS ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND HOW THEY CAN BE PART OF THE SOLUTION.

In its eighth year as an exhibitor at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Aug. 24-26, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) continued to impact a large number of attendees with information about human trafficking in America and with its Freedom Drivers Project (FDP). More than 1,500 drivers, spouses, manufacturers, instructors, students, mechanics and more toured the FDP, were affected by its new exhibits of survivor artifacts and learned how they could save a life with a simple phone call.

“We’d like to thank not only those who walked through the FDP but then made a commitment to take this information back to their company, family, and community,” said Helen Van Dam, FDP director. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with the men and women on the front lines so they can recognize and report trafficking. Thank you also to Randall Riley for discounting our booth, to Quality Carriers and UPS Freight for hauling the Freedom Drivers Project and to Bridgestone Commercial Solutions for sending volunteers to help us run our booth.”

TAT News from the August 2017 Newsletter

TAT responds to questions about state laws governing CDL requirements

Given all of the legislative movement as of late, we want to make a statement about how TAT is operating. First and foremost, we think we can all agree that human trafficking should be fought. The question really is … how best do we do that? In trying to answer that question, TAT, while certainly learning as we go, is working with its trucking industry partners. From the beginning, we have made our materials free-of-charge and asked the industry to voluntarily adopt the training … and we are still doing that. At the same time, the broader anti-trafficking movement has been hard at work getting every sector of our society … including legislators at the local, state and national levels … involved in combating the evils of human trafficking, and it is not surprising that we are seeing a host of new laws being offered for consideration.

At the state level, we never make a move without the support of our trucking partners in that particular state. And at times, TAT is only finding out about these bills via a media story (or other third party) and then contacting the state in order to try and weigh in on the matter.  We fully recognize the concerns around the Arkansas law that recently passed requiring our training, and we have been working non-stop to co-brand training certificates for all AR-based companies who had already adopted the training (or recently began) in order to expedite the process for all concerned. We will do the same in Kansas, where a similar law has already been put in place. Moving forward, we will be asking states who are pushing for across-the-board mandates to consider training implementation in CDL schools only, where drivers already find themselves in a classroom setting. Please note that it’s not just truck drivers being required to train … its hotel employees, hair dressers, ER workers, and the list continues. When we do gain a seat at the table we are working to make these laws as effective as possible, and as palatable to the industry as can be.

We are fully aware that trucking is one of the most over-regulated industries, and that you cannot legislate the mind and heart. We also recognize that both sides of the aisle are coming together around this issue and therefore it is imperative that we try and work with them to form the legislation being proposed so that it does take into consideration the needs and concerns of the industry.

To date, the only federal bill we have given our support to is Klobuchar’s bill (S. 1536) … which would designate a human trafficking prevention coordinator at the US DOT, increase outreach, education and reporting efforts at the FMCSA, and provide CDL schools who are implementing anti-trafficking education additional financial assistance. This bill only incentivizes training at the federal level, it does not mandate it.

Ultimately, we want to see those who are enslaved set free … and we want to work with industry to accomplish this goal. We are asking for your continued support in this effort, and want you to know that your concerns are being heard and acted upon.

Survivor-Leader Tajuan McCarty joins Survivor-Leader Beth Jacobs as TAT field trainers

Truckers Against Trafficking now has two part-time field trainers to present at coalition builds and to do law enforcement and additional specialized trainings as needed with Survivor-Leader Tajuan McCarty joining Survivor-Leader Beth Jacobs in the role of field trainer. Jacobs will cover the northern half of the United States, while McCarty covers all needed presentations in the southern half.

McCarty is uniquely qualified to be a forerunner in the fight against trafficking, as she understands victims’ situations. At 15, she was sexually exploited by her “boyfriend-turned-pimp.” While trafficked all over the United States, Canada and Mexico, she was trafficked to Birmingham so many times, it became her home. Her many experiences make her a passionate advocate for victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

TAJUAN MCCARTY

“Not too long after entering the fight against trafficking, I found TAT or they found me,” said McCarty. “It amazed me how they reached out to survivors while developing each of the items they wanted to use. TAT honors how we feel and what we say. I am not sure there is any other group that does this to the extent they do. Now I am one of them!!! God is so amazing how He opens doors and brings people together. Who would have thought 30-plus years after walking onto the first truck stop lot when I was being trafficked, He would bring me to this!”

McCarty is the founder of The WellHouse, a nonprofit, faith-based and Christ-centered agency dedicated to rescuing women from sexual exploitation/human trafficking. She has experience in social work, community outreach, and as a consultant on women’s issues. Her professional experience includes leadership positions, such as a social worker for the Alabama Department of Human Resources, in which she has assisted women ex-offenders re-enter society and helped implement Alabama’s first program devoted to helping chronically homeless, severely mentally ill women. She holds master degrees in public health and public administration, as well as a bachelor of science in social work from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

McCarty was recognized as one of the Top 20 Women Who Make a Difference in Birmingham, accepted the FBI director’s Community Leadership Award on behalf of The WellHouse, was recognized in 2015 as part of The A-List by B-Metro Magazine and Faces of Birmingham with Style BluePrint Magazine, has been featured as An Everyday Hero in Good Housekeeping magazine in 2015 and was awarded Vulcan Spear Hero in 2016.

She continues to train law enforcement, social workers, and many other professionals to be aware of the signs of trafficking, understand the mindset of victims and how to relate without causing further harm.

“It is imperative that law enforcement and industry approach the crime of human trafficking with a victim-centered approach,” commented TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris. “With that in mind, we are thrilled to bring Tajuan McCarty on staff to join Beth Jacobs as a part-time field trainer in order to train critical stakeholders across the nation. She has already made an incredible impact on all of the audiences we have put her in front of, and TAT is grateful for the skillset, passion and dedication both of these women bring to this issue and our mission.”

ESTHER GOETSCH, TAT COALITION BUILD SPECIALIST, MET UP WITH NICOLE CLIFTON, VICE PRESIDENT OF CORPORATE PUBLIC AFFAIRS, UPS, AT THE HEARING.

TAT testifies before Congressional hearing committee

Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist, met up with Nicole Clifton, vice president of corporate public affairs, UPS, at the hearing.

Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist, represented Truckers Against Trafficking at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on July 12 in Washington D.C. The hearing was titled Force Multipliers: How Transportation and Supply Chain Stakeholders are Combatting Human Trafficking. The link to the full hearing is here.

Goetsch was a panel member, along with Polaris Project, Issara Institute and Florida Abolitionist and responded to various questions from Senators regarding human trafficking. The two-hour hearing educated lawmakers about the crime of human trafficking and how various industries are creatively working to combat it. Goetsch provided testimony as to ways the American trucking industry has responded to the realities of human trafficking and is actively serving as a model for other industries in combatting it.

“I was encouraged to see so many Senators comment positively on TAT’s work and the trucking industry’s role in taking this issue on,” Goetsch said. “The committee as a whole seemed engaged in this topic and eager to learn how they can contribute to its defeat.”

TAT enjoys great crowd at Iowa 80 Jamboree

HELEN VAN DAM, TAT FDP DIRECTOR, CHECKED OUT THE GUITAR TONY JUSTICE, COUNTRY MUSIC STAR AND TRUCK DRIVER, RAFFLED OFF FOR TAT.

Not only did 1660 people walk through the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) at this year’s Iowa 80 Jamboree, but country music star and truck driver Tony Justice raised $500 for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) by raffling off a Wilson acoustic guitar signed by himself and George Strait. Additionally, TAT raised another $264 through merchandise sales and donations.

“We had a fantastic time hanging out with the folks that came through the FDP,” said Helen Van Dam. “Thank you to the Iowa 80 group and the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officers for helping to host us. Thank you to Global Specialized Services and JBS Carriers for hauling the Freedom Drivers Project and making its presence at the Jamboree possible. And a big thanks to Tony Justice for raffling off the guitar to benefit us! We wish him the greatest success on his new album Stars, Stripes and White Lines! Thanks to Tony for being an amazing TAT!”

TAT News from the July 2017 Newsletter

Everyday Heroes tractor auction nets record donation for TAT

On June 20, Mike Jimenez, owner of Phoenix-based J&L Transportation provided the winning bid of $140,000 for the Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 tractor auctioned off by Ritchie Bros. Auction as a fundraiser for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) by Inland Kenworth. As a result, TAT will receive an $89,000 donation, the largest one-time gift in the organization’s history.

ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL MARK BRNOVICH AND HIS DAUGHTER SOPHIA CHECKED OUT THE EVERYDAY HEROES TRACTOR BEFORE IT WAS AUCTIONED OFF.

“We are absolutely thrilled and overwhelmed by the generosity of the industry, and extremely grateful to Mike Jimenez and J&L Transportation for adding the Everyday Heroes Truck to its fleet,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director.

“This culminated an 8-month project that had a tremendous finish,” said Don Blake, Inland Kenworth’s new truck sales manager in the Phoenix area, who spearheaded the program. “Our sponsors came together to donate and discount their pricing in order for us to build the Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680. I was on pins and needles as the auction and bidding took place and was so happy that the truck was going to a local company that demonstrated its commitment to such a worthy cause.”

Jimenez, who was in South Africa at the time of the auction, produced the winning bid by proxy. “Though I have not encountered human trafficking, it does exist in our world,” he said. “It’s been my experience that when our industry gets behind a cause, it is a worthwhile cause. When Don expressed his interest, along with Inland Kenworth and all the other supporters and sponsors intent on doing this project, I knew J&L should be a part of the answer to end such heartbreaking events. I’m confident that TAT will use the proceeds to continue the education efforts and training necessary to end human trafficking in the future. Without their efforts, I would still be blind to this epidemic in our society.”

The Kenworth T680, fully loaded with a 76-inch sleeper, 485-hp PACCAR MX-13 engine, and Eaton® Fuller Advantage™ 10-speed automated transmission, joins 35 other trucks in the J&L Transporation fleet. The truck will be placed in J&L’s dedicated fleet and utilized in Arizona, California and Nevada.

“When people hear about the horrific realities of human trafficking, they often make promises to get involved, but not everyone follows through,” Paris stated. “That is not true of Don Blake, George Cravens (with Utility Trailers), and all of the amazing sponsors of the Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680. This money will enable us to continue to expand our work within the trucking industry, and also allow us to further our partnerships with law enforcement, additional modes of transportation, and multiple countries, in the fight against human trafficking. We are extremely grateful to Ritchie Bros. for auctioning off the truck, the amazing sponsors for helping to build it from the ground up, the trucking media for raising awareness about the work of TAT through the entire process of this one-of-a-kind auction, and to Inland Kenworth’s Don Blake who led the charge to the very end.”

According to Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president, Blake’s passion for the project was contagious. “Don and Inland Kenworth did a wonderful and creative program to support TAT,” Dozier said. “It shows how an idea can germinate and how the industry can pull together to support the fight against human trafficking. As an organization, we couldn’t be prouder to provide assistance, and to call Don a model representative of Inland Kenworth and our dealer network.”

Paris explained that human trafficking is an industry estimated to be worth $32 billion in the United States alone, and $150 billion globally. To further its education, TAT has the Freedom Driver’s Project – a mobile exhibit, which educates members of the trucking industry. The project was at Inland Kenworth in Phoenix on June 19, and at Utility Trailers next door, on June 20. Nearly 200 people were trained.

Providing support for the Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 were Kenworth Truck Company and Ritchie Bros. at the Platinum Level; Inland Kenworth, Utility Trailer Sales Company of Arizona and FlowBelow Wheel Covers at the Gold Level; PACCAR Engine, PACCAR Parts, Horton, Jot Fifth Wheel, Meritor, Eaton Corporation and Bendix at the Silver Level; and Delco, ExGuard Grille Guards, Davco, National Seats, East Penn Batteries, Giti Tires and Alcoa at the Bronze Level.

TAT invited to testify before Congress

Kendis Paris, executive director of Truckers Against Trafficking, has been invited to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation in Washington, D.C. on July 12.

“Testifying before Congress regarding the critical impact the US trucking industry has made in combating domestic sex trafficking is a high honor indeed,” said Paris. “From professional drivers to truck stop employees to safety directors and CEOs of companies … TAT has born first-hand witness of what can be done when good men and women raise up and use their influence and resources to fight evil.”

Chaired by Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has jurisdiction over all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relating to a long list of areas, including interstate commerce, highway safety, the regulation of interstate common carriers, including railroads, buses, trucks, vessels, pipelines and civil aviation, as well as transportation and transportation and commerce aspects of Outer Continental Shelf lands.

AAMVA audience important component to advancing Iowa MVE use

LAURA CYRUS, TAT OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, SPOKE TO ATTENDEES AT THE AMMVA CONFERENCE IN CHATTANOOGA.

TAT Operations Director Laura Cyrus recently co-presented on CMV Interdiction: Drug and Human Trafficking at the Region ll conference of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The session touched on ways law enforcement, federal partners, state DMV/DOT offices and trucking can all work together to help in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking.

Co-presenters for the session included Captain Brian Baxter, Criminal Investigation Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety; Sergeant Darren Reid, Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement, Iowa Department of Transportation; and David R. Mullins, Special Agent, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

Capt. Baxter, Sgt. Reid and Agent Mullins all shared interdiction case studies and updated the audience on what they, as law enforcement officers, are seeing the field. Cyrus familiarized folks with TAT’s efforts to engage the trucking and law enforcement communities in a more unified work effort. She also requested that audience members representing various sectors within state government take the TAT Iowa MVE model back to their offices and start or continue discussions around how their states can increase levels of engagement with TAT.

“It was fantastic to be able to round out the session as the closing speaker,” said Cyrus. “Each of the gentlemen before me spoke about TAT and some of their work with us, prior to me even speaking. I was truly grateful that they each took the time to reference our organization by name and encouraged everyone in the room to get involved with our program. I’m hopeful that further connections will be made within each state represented and that our Iowa MVE model will continue to be replicated in deeper, more engaging ways across the nation. I was able to pass out a number of law enforcement training DVDs, regular DVDs and wallet cards, and several attendees made a specific point to approach our table afterward and express their sincere thanks for our work and the excitement they have around the increasing efforts across the country to incorporate TAT training at the CDL school level.”  

Wyoming coalition build primes pump for additional law enforcement training

Truckers Against Trafficking and the Freedom Drivers Project held a coalition build in Casper, Wyoming at the end of June for 18 representatives of the truck stop/travel plaza industry, five trucking members and 30 law enforcement members from local, state and federal agencies. The build was co-hosted by the Wyoming Trucking Association, Homeland Security Investigations, the Wyoming Office of the Attorney General and TAT.

SOME OF THE ATTENDEES AT THE COALITION BUILD INCLUDED (L TO R) CAROL MORRIS, VICTIM ASSISTANT SPECIALIST FOR HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS; ESTHER GOETSCH, TAT COALITION BUILD SPECIALIST; SHEILA FOERTSCH, MANAGER DIRECTOR OF THE WYOMING TRUCKING ASSOCIATION; CARA CHAMBERS, DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF VICTIM SERVICES FOR THE WYOMING ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE; AND SPECIAL AGENT LAURA ELDER, OFFICE OF RESIDENT AGENT IN CHARGE FOR HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS

During the half-day training, attendees learned about Wyoming laws around human trafficking, heard actual local case studies of trafficking, as well as stings that have occurred in the state, dispelling the myth that “it doesn’t happen here.” TAT Field Trainer Beth Jacobs told her story as a trafficking victim and survivor leader, providing concrete training to law enforcement about having a victim-centered approach. There was a good discussion at the end of the day about how to get more of the industry in Wyoming actively involved in combatting human trafficking.

“We’re grateful to have such great partners in Wyoming,” shared Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist, “and are hopeful this meeting will produce more calls into law enforcement, with more victims recovered and more perpetrators arrested.”

Goetsch commented that one officer said he was just going to stop in but was surprised at how good the training and information was and decided to stay the whole day. “This same officer is hoping to have TAT come back and train all of his officers in person,” she said.

THE WYOMING COALITION BUILD HAD AN AUDIENCE OF OVER 50 FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT, TRUCKING AND TRAVEL PLAZA GROUPS.

Wyoming Highway Patrol, along with additional local law enforcement agencies who attended the meeting, are hoping to collaborate together to have TAT back out to train as many law enforcement in the state as possible. This will include training all officers at 14 ports of entry and weigh stations. They will also be stocking all weigh stations and ports of entry with TAT materials.

TAT News from the May 2017 Newsletter

Law enforcement training critical component of TAT work

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) continues to maintain a strong relationship with law enforcement across the country. It recently released its law enforcement training video, which is available, free-of-charge, to law enforcement, both on our website and in hard copy, obtained by writing tat.truckers@gmail.com.

On May 23-24, Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, will speak to law enforcement from around the nation, including police, DEA, FBI, HIS and sheriffs, at a national interdiction conference (HIDTA) in Kansas City, MO. There, she will show the trailer for the law enforcement training video, as well as have a table with hard copies of the video available. On May 31, Lanier and Beth Jacobs, survivor leader and TAT field trainer, will join D/Sgt. Ed Price of the Southeast Michigan Crimes Against Children Task Force in Lansing, Michigan to provide a day-long training on human trafficking for the Michigan State Police. TAT will provide the video as a resource to the agencies in attendance.

Sign up NOW to bid at auction for Everyday Heroes truck

It’s now time to put your name on the bidding list for the auction of the fully customized 2018 Kenworth T680 Everyday Heroes truck that will be auctioned off June 20.  In this unique and creative fundraising event, Inland Kenworth and Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers have teamed up with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) to raise funds for TAT by auctioning off the one-of-a-kind tractor.

The “Everyday Heroes” truck, retail value $157,000, is fully loaded with a 76-inch sleeper, 485-hp Paccar MX-13 engine, and Eaton Fuller Advantage 10-speed automated transmission.

“We will highlight this truck through our social media,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, “and also hope to plan an event with it and our Freedom Drivers Project, so we hope many carriers will want to add this sweet Kenworth T680 to their fleet … register to bid today!”

TAT talks to dealerships about TAT partnerships at Bridgestone Executive Symposium

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, spoke to a couple hundred Bridgestone dealers on April 11 in Orlando, Florida, presenting on human trafficking and the effective role dealerships can play in fighting it by becoming TAT Dealership Partners (TDP).

“Dealers have a critical role to play in combating human trafficking,” Paris said. “By utilizing their locations as distribution points for life-saving materials, and by providing modest financial support to sustain our programs, TAT’s Dealership Partners have the potential to reach an exponential amount of the driving workforce through this program. And we are thrilled by our newest TDP in Pomp’s, who not only will be distributing materials in their 100 locations, but also donated a substantial amount to TAT via the silent auction of the beautiful Bandag painting created on-site. As always, we are so thankful to Bridgestone for providing us with the opportunity to present in Orlando, and for recognizing the importance of going beyond the bottom line in order to create social change via one’s career.”

Paul Wochinske, Pomp’s vice president, commented, “We are excited to be associated with Truckers Against Trafficking. Your presentation made a huge impact on the 12 people Pomp’s had at the Bridgestone meeting in Orlando. Thank you for all that TAT does.”

THIS BANDAG PAINTING WAS CREATED AND AUCTIONED OFF AT THE EVENT, WITH PROCEEDS OF THE AUCTION BENEFITTING TAT.

Freedom Drivers Project sports new wrap and exhibits

Clad in a new exterior wrap and with new survivor artifacts and exhibits inside, the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) continues to churn up the miles as it attends events across the country. Its current calendar includes events in Maine, coalition builds in Mississippi and Wyoming, Prime’s Highway Diamonds Gala in Missouri, the Iowa 80 Jamboree, trainings and the Inland Kenworth truck auction in Arizona and the National Traffic Law Center Conference in Ohio.

Even if you’ve been through the FDP in the past, make sure you check out its new exhibits at any event you attend with it in the future.

The new wrap on the Freedom Drivers Project displays a patriot theme.

TAT cohosts two coalition builds in Mississippi

Working with the Mississippi Trucking Association and the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) has scheduled two coalition builds in one week in Mississippi.

TAT staff and the Freedom Drivers Project will travel to Jackson, Mississippi for the first build on May 2, moving to Tupelo on May 4 for the second one.

“We’ve never tried to hold two coalition builds in one week before,” said Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist. “But we’ve had superb help from the Mississippi Trucking Association. They’ve been instrumental in securing facilities to host these builds, activating trucking stakeholders to attend and covering many of the associated costs. We hope to saturate the state of Mississippi with TAT’s message and equip both law enforcement and trucking industry stakeholders with the knowledge and resources to effectively combat these crimes in their work.”

TAT News from the April 2017 Newsletter

Need your certification as a TAT-Trained driver?

A number of states are now working to pass legislation mandating that either entry-level Class A CDL applicants or renewal applicants have human trafficking training and/or become certified TAT-Trained as part of their testing requirements.

To help drivers become compliant with that law — or even comply with a company mandate for TAT training — TAT has created a portal on our website where anyone can go to watch the TAT training video, take a test on it and receive a printable certificate, showing that they have completed the training. Each person will register to take the training, thereby creating an account. Should they pass the test and earn the certificate, they can print it out. If they ever lose the certificate, they can log back in to their account and print another.

“Providing this portal on our website saves state monies, as the training and certificate cost no one anything, other than the sheet of paper needed to print the certificate,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “It is our hope that this portal will make it easy and convenient for drivers to fulfill their human trafficking training requirement, and that in so doing, they will be better equipped to fight human trafficking should they see it any time, any place, in their travels.”

To check out the portal, click here.

Make your smart phone smarter with a TAT app

If you have a smart phone, TAT has an App for you. For many years, the only TAT app available was for Android phones, but, today, you can download a TAT app from the Google Play Store or iTunes Play Store or from the Windows Play Store, for Android, iPhone or Windows phones, respectively.

The apps feature the TAT wallet card information in an easy-to-follow format. Get your app today, so you have the TAT wallet card with you always.

Click here for more information.

Thanks to your support, TAT meets matching grant total

“We can’t say enough to express our appreciation for the supporters and partners who have stepped up this month –- our first month in this matching grant cycle –- to enable us to be nearing our completion goal,” enthused Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “This is absolutely fantastic and will enable us to accomplish so much in the coming months.

As of March 31, TAT had already received $40,369 toward a goal of $40,000 in order to receive a matching grant of $40,000 from Change a Path (CAP).

CAP, an organization providing financial grants to support not-for-profit organizations working in the sex-trafficking space, has been a major supporter of TAT’s coalition builds for the past three years. Coalition builds are strategic half-day trainings to unify the efforts of law enforcement and trucking representatives and close loopholes to traffickers. TAT works with a state’s attorney general’s office to host coalition builds. Last year, TAT held nine of these events, thanks, in large part, to the funding CAP provided.

This matching grant, if met, will not only fund eight additional coalition builds in 2017 but will provide funds for other TAT programs. CAP likes to provide matching fund grants to bring funders and supporters together to maximize their impact for the organization they are supporting.

 TAT cements relationship with Consejo Ciudadano in Mexico City

With so many professional drivers now crossing borders in their jobs, traversing Mexico, the United States and Canada, TAT prints wallet cards in English and Spanish (a French Canadian card is available on our website) to ensure consistent messaging and that a vigilant population of drivers is equipped with the information they need. Until recently, however, the National Human Trafficking Hotline number, 1-888-3737-888, was the only number on the card. But late last year, Mexico’s human trafficking hotline became operational 24/7, and TAT began including that information on the cards as well. The Mexican hotline, 01800-5533-000, is partnered with Polaris Project, which runs the US National Human Trafficking Hotline.

In March, TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier also traveled to Mexico City to meet with members of Consejo Ciudadano (Citizen’s Council) to strategize on the replication of TAT’s model to engage the members of their trucking industry in the fight against human trafficking.

“We’re impressed with the inroads Consejo Ciudadano has made in combatting crime in their country, and we’re excited to work with them and strategize on ways to engage Mexico’s trucking industry in this fight,” said Lanier. “The two days of meetings with Consejo Ciudadano staff were extremely productive and encouraging, and we look forward to a deepening relationship going forward. United, we can have a broader impact in the fight against human trafficking and see more victims recovered and more perpetrators brought to justice.”

Drivers step up to help with TAT training, projects at MATS

At this year’s Mid-America Truck Show in Louisville, Kentucky on March 23-25, the TAT team found themselves with plenty of opportunities to speak with fleet owners, company drivers and owner-operators about the realities of domestic sex trafficking.

“We heard from drivers whose own families have been affected by sexual exploitation to others who have made calls on behalf of victims and seen the recovery with their own eyes,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “We ran into a lot of long-time supporters, and, hopefully, taught hundreds of new drivers about TAT and what to do when they see forced prostitution taking place. We also are so thankful for our time with the Walmart Road Team, and the American Trucking Associations Road Team Captains, as both either volunteered at our booth or worked with us on a current project.”

TAT was also able to complete two training certification sessions led by Kylla Lanier, TAT’s deputy director. Both training sessions were sponsored by the Kentucky Trucking Association, a TAT partner, and the Friday seminar was even featured in the Transport Topics Saturday show report. Kevin Kimmel, TAT’s 2015 Harriet Tubman Award winner, also participated in the certification trainings and gave drivers a firsthand account of why it’s so important to make the call as soon as you suspect something is not right.

TAT joins Inland Kenworth, Utility Trailer Sales Company of Arizona to make presentations to Arizona Human Trafficking Council

Lyn Thompson, TAT communications specialist, Don Blake, new truck sales manager for Inland Kenworth, and George Cravens, president of Utility Trailer Sales Company of Arizona, presented to the Arizona Human Trafficking Council on March 22. Thompson provided an overview of TAT, while Blake and Cravens spoke about the Everyday Heroes 2018 Kenworth tractor that will be auctioned off at Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers on June 20, with all proceeds going to TAT. Toward the end of the meeting, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey thanked the Council for their work to fight human trafficking, as well as TAT and the trucking industry, and then led council members and the audience to the capitol entrance to view the Everyday Heroes truck and take photos.

“It was a privilege to present to the Arizona Human Trafficking Council, co-chaired by Cindy McCain and Gil Orrantia, and to hear about the comprehensive work this team of professionals is doing to fight human trafficking in Arizona and beyond,” said Thompson. “Everyone I spoke with was just as complimentary of the efforts of the trucking industry nationwide in the fight against this crime. And I wish everyone could have heard all the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ over the Kenworth tractor that will be auctioned off. Gov. Ducey even sat in the cab and had fun honking the horn. It is a beautiful, signature, one-of-a-kind truck that catches people’s attention.”

TAT News from the March 2017 Newsletter

Give now and double the size of your donation through a 40K matching grant from Change a Path

If you’ve been thinking about becoming a corporate sponsor of Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) or donating to TAT, March 1-May 31 would be a perfect time, because your monies will double, thanks to a $40 thousand matching grant from Change a Path (CAP).

CAP, an organization providing financial grants to support not-for-profit organizations working in the sex-trafficking space, has been a major supporter of TAT’s coalition builds for the past three years. Coalition builds are strategic half-day trainings to unify the efforts of law enforcement and trucking representatives and close loopholes to traffickers. TAT works with a state’s attorney general’s office to host coalition builds, and, last year, held nine of these events, thanks, in large part, to the funding CAP provided.

This matching grant, if met, will not only fund eight additional coalition builds in 2017 but will provide funds for other TAT programs. CAP likes to provide matching fund grants to bring funders and supporters together to maximize their impact for the organization they are supporting.

Give today and double your support for TAT!

Busing on the Lookout (BOTL)

Similar to members of the trucking industry, bus drivers and terminal employees are often in places where they can intersect with potential victims. They need training. TAT, through its connections with commercial vehicle enforcement and safety associations, has been approached for several years about creating industry-specific materials for employees in this area of transportation. Those are now available on the TAT website in the form of a webinar and a bus-industry wallet card. Bus lines have also shown interest in TAT’s Want Out of the Life posters for their bus terminals as well as the TAT side-window decals.

“By creating these materials, we’re developing an ever-broadening, transient army of eyes and ears,” explained Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “We want busing employees to be on the lookout. We know bus terminals are one of the places traffickers use for recruitment, and the buses themselves are a mode of transportation traffickers use to transport their victims.”

If you’re in the busing industry, write tat.truckers@gmail.com to get your wallet cards and posters today.

TAT to train CDL driving testers in Colorado

Due to an opportunity presented to TAT by the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR), in the months of March and April, TAT staff will be training all “third-party testers,” the instructors hired by the DOR to conduct the driving portion of the test for people wanting their CDL licenses in the state. This includes both truck and bus CDL testers.

“Testers spend hours with CDL applicants and are in a position to share this life-saving information and pass along a TAT wallet card to each applicant. They are a wonderful point of distribution for this information, and we’re looking forward to training them,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director.

The training schedule includes: March 7 in Golden (School Bus/Passenger); March 21 in Grand Junction (Class A,B,C,/Passenger); March 28 in Golden (Class A,B,C/Passenger); April 6 in Golden (Class A,B,C/Passenger); April 18-19 in Colorado Springs (both School Bus/Passenger (on April 18) and Class A,B,C/Passenger (on April 19).

The Colorado DOR also passes out at TAT wallet card with every commercial driver’s license issued.

 TAT releases law enforcement training DVD

In an effort to provide law enforcement with either a solid start to an officer’s human trafficking education or a supplemental resource building on previous training, Truckers Against Trafficking is releasing a law enforcement training DVD, available, free-of-charge, online. Hard copies will be available by the end of March by writing tat.truckers@gmail.com.

“We are very thankful to all the top-notch officers and prosecutors who participated in this training film,” commented Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, “and believe it will be very beneficial in preparing first responders to recognize and respond to human trafficking effectively. We also want to thank Help Inc., our main sponsor for this training tool, as well as iEmpathize for their excellent shooting and production work.”

‘Everyday Heroes’ Kenworth T680 to be auctioned off to support TAT

In a unique and creative fundraising event, Inland Kenworth and Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers are teaming up with Truckers Against Trafficking to raise funds for TAT by auctioning off a customized 2018 Kenworth T680. Individuals and carriers can support the cause by registerin at RBAuction.com after April 21, with all proceeds going directly to TAT. The truck will be auctioned off June 20.

The “Everyday Heroes” truck, retail value $157,000, will be exhibited at the American Trucking Associations’ Technology and Maintenance Council event in Nashville, Tennessee, Feb. 27-March 2 in the FlowBelow booth #1052. The special Kenworth T680 is fully loaded with a 76-inch sleeper, 485-hp Paccar MX-13 engine, and Eaton Fuller Advantage 10-speed automated transmission.

Don Blake, Inland Kenworth’s truck sales manager in the Phoenix area, spearheaded this fundraising effort, after listening to a TAT presentation.

“I had to wipe the tears from my eyes after learning the horrors that TAT rescues people from today,” he said. “I knew right then that I wanted to help our industry combat human trafficking. With the support of Inland Kenworth and Kenworth Truck Co. we decided to build a special truck with the idea of having the cost offset by Kenworth and component sponsors. The response was nothing short of unbelievable. This project has mobilized a group of caring industry suppliers, and together we are going to help save some lives.”

TAT News from the February 2017 Newsletter

Check out TAT’s 2016 Annual Report

Truckers Against Trafficking invites you to check out our 2016 annual report, which is now available digitally on our website. The theme for this year’s report is Maximizing Partnerships through Program Expansion. If you’re interested in obtaining a printed copy of the report, please contact tat.truckers@gmail.com.

TAT hires State-Based Initiatives Director

Stephanie Walton joins the TAT staff as director of state-based initiatives (SBI), responsible for taking TAT’s relationships with state agencies to a new level of partnership. In this role, Walton will work to identify necessary pathways in each state for full implementation of TAT’s Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement (IA MVE) model, and then build out the necessary relational infrastructure for complete adoption nationwide. Walton will also identify additional ways state agencies can partner with TAT via its applicable programs.

Prior to joining TAT, Walton worked at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, focusing on initiatives to prevent and reduce youth tobacco use. She also worked for many years at the National Conference of State Legislatures, where she provided information, technical assistance and legislative testimony to states on a number of human services topics. Walton received her MA degree in political science from the University of Colorado at Denver, and her BA at Linfield College in Oregon. She lives with her husband near Denver and, in their spare time, they like to explore the outdoors.

 A shout out to Hoekstra Transportation LLC for their anti-trafficking efforts

Working to partner with their local Zonta group, Hoekstra Transportation LLC went the extra mile in 2016 and wrapped three of their trailers with anti-human trafficking messages. Additionally, Hoekstra hauled the Freedom Drivers Project from the 2016 SuperRigs event to the Illinois Truck Driving Championships last year.

Thank you to the California Trucking Association

The California Trucking Association (CTA), the first state trucking association to partner with TAT back in 2011, has presented TAT with $10,900, as a result of a call for donations by CTA Policy Director Eric Sauer. The Bay Area presented a portion of the money in December, and the rest came to TAT through the CTA board meeting in January. The money was donated through fundraising efforts including golf tournaments, driver and member company donations and employee donations.

“Since 2011, CTA and its members have proudly partnered with Truckers Against Trafficking to do what we can to stop human trafficking. In addition to our members frequently serving as the eyes and ears of what’s happening on our roads and highways and working with TAT to alert authorities to incidents of trafficking, our members have also contributed more than $38,800 to TAT over the last 5 years,” said Shawn Yadon, CEO of the California Trucking Association.

Jacobs and Lanier receive high marks for law enforcement training in Mississippi

Between Jan. 10-14, TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier and TAT Field Trainer and survivor leader Beth Jacobs traveled the state of Mississippi training the law enforcement division of the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT). In four different locations, they conducted six three-hour trainings. As a result of the trainings, MDOT will now be stocking all weigh stations and ports of entry with TAT materials. The officers will be visiting truck stops and trucking companies within their jurisdiction and will use their position to raise awareness about TAT. There was also interest from the Highway Patrol for possible trainings as well.

Chief Willie Huff, MDOT Law Enforcement Director, said, “I have heard many compliments from the officers … Hopefully this knowledge will enable us to look a little deeper into a situation we may have never looked into before and allow a victim to be given their life back … Thank you again.”

AS A RESULT OF TAT TRAINING FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT IN MISSISSIPPI, OFFICERS WILL BE PASSING ALONG WHAT THEY LEARNED TO TRUCKING AND TRAVEL PLAZA REPRESENTATIVES THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

Following the session attended by Captain James Burns and his officers, Burns wrote, “All officers that I talked to were very complimentary of the class and said it really opened their eyes to this problem. They were like me when I first attended the class in that they were under the impression the person being trafficked had broken the law and needed to be dealt with accordingly. We did not see them as a victim at that time.”

He continued, “All of the information was very beneficial. The icing on the cake is when a victim can stand before the officers and explain to them how this whole scenario takes shape. We can then see how a person can be manipulated/abused/threatened and become so intimidated that they are afraid to try to escape. To me, it seemed you had just the right amount of information before the victim addressed the class. All officers I have talked to said, in the future, they would look at these people as victims instead of as a perpetrator. I noticed during the class that most all of the officers were very attentive. That is unusual for a class that last as long as this one. It proves that your material was top-notch.”

Based on evaluations conducted at each location, Lanier commented, “The response to the information and Beth’s story were amazingly positive, and we look forward to deepening our partnership with MDOT and Mississippi law enforcement. A special thanks to Chief Willie Huff, Captain Powell and our awesome guide and coordinator Captain Arthur for bringing this important training to their officers!”

Texas Attorney General, legislators, Texas Trucking Association and TAT partner on CDL training bills

TAT DEPUTY DIRECTOR KYLLA LANIER AND TEXAS TRUCKING ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT JOHN ESPARZA WERE BOTH PRESENT AT THE TEXAS CAPITOL FOR THE ANNOUNCEMENT ON UPCOMING BILLS REGARDING CDL TRAINING IN TEXAS.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, State Senator Sylvia Garcia, State Representative Senfronia Thompson and Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, were among the speakers at a Children at Risk Human Trafficking Advocacy Day Rally and press conference Jan. 25 at the Texas state capitol in Austin to announce mirror bills by Garcia and Thompson which include TAT training in requirements for CDL licensing in the state of Texas.

House bill 272 and Senate bill 128 both have the goal of increasing anti-human trafficking training for truck drivers in Texas, recognizing that members of the trucking industry play a critical role in the fight against human trafficking.

“Truckers Against Trafficking is very pleased to support legislation ensuring that professional drivers would secure this life-saving information and training,” said Lanier. “Our partners at the Texas Trucking Association also believe in the power of the trucking industry to make an impact in this fight against slavery. We are grateful to the leadership of Representative Thompson and Senator Garcia in sponsoring this legislation.”

While John Esparza, president of the Texas Trucking Association, didn’t speak at the press conference, he is aware of both bills and will be working with the state legislature on bill passage.

TAT News from the January 2017 Newsletter

Looking ahead to 2017

by Kendis Paris, TAT executive director

After an exciting and successful 2016, in addition to thanking you for your incredible support in this critical fight to end human trafficking, I wanted to share a few insights with you on where TAT is headed and how we plan on getting there in 2017 and beyond.

First, I want you to know that TAT is working to scale sustainably. Our goal has never been to simply grow TAT as an organization but to extend our influence and reach as much as possible each year in the trucking industry by expanding existing programs, beginning new ones where necessary, and building the necessary infrastructure for model replication, either internationally or across modes of transportation.

As you know, traffickers use and exploit various means of transportation to move and sell their victims, and while trucking is and will always remain our primary focus, we believe it’s important for employees in all modes of commercial transportation to become trained to increase their awareness, so they can recognize this crime any time, any place, but especially when it appears on their doorsteps. Therefore, because our partnerships are expanding, especially when we consider all the government agencies we currently work with (DOT, Department of Public Safety, Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Revenue, Department of Licensing), TAT has expanded its goals to the following:

      • Saturate trucking and related industries with TAT materials.
      • Partner with law enforcement and government agencies to facilitate the investigation of human trafficking.
      • Marshal the resources of our partners to combat this crime.

While we want to always ensure we’re capable of fulfilling our mission of educating, equipping, empowering and mobilizing the trucking industry to fight human trafficking, the expansion of our goals enables us to consider the trajectory of the industry we primarily work with and the abolitionist movement as a whole.

As we look at all we hope to accomplish in 2017 — like dramatically increasing how many are registered as TAT trained, assisting in developing anti-trafficking legislation, continuing to build out coalitions between industry stakeholders and law enforcement at the local and state level, along with much more — we are excited.

But what truly motivates us is unearthing all the amazing TAT champions we find along the way, whether it be a professional driver, state legislator, law enforcement official at any level, safety director, CEO of a manufacturing company, dealer manager, CDL instructor, truck stop GM,  STA president, trucking or government official in any role, etc. We are truly in this together and, with your help, can make 2017 the most impactful year yet.

Remember to keep an eye out for our 2016 Annual Report, which will hopefully be out and on our website by the end of this month, to give you an encapsulated version of what we all accomplished as TATs this past year.

Freedom Drivers Project adds to the fun at Heartland Express

The Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) traveled to Jacksonville, Florida in December for its last road trip of 2016 to join Heartland Express for their Driver Appreciation event.

“We had a great time sharing in celebrating drivers with them,” said Helen Van Dam, FDP director. “Drivers are vital to the safety of our roads, and we’re so thankful for their work to recognize and report sex trafficking. An extra shout out to the Heartland Express drivers who toured the Freedom Drivers Project and committed to call the hotline! Thank you to all the Heartland Express staff that made it possible for us to be there. We had a great time enjoying the sunshine, company, and food. Thank you also to Mode Transportation, Grammer Industries, and Quality Distribution for hauling the FDP.”

The FDP enjoyed lots of sunshine for the Heartland Express Driver Appreciation event in Florida.

TAT and the FDP head to Kentucky for National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, and Helen Van Dam, Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) director, along with the FDP, will head to Frankfort, Kentucky Jan. 10-12 to commemorate National Human Trafficking Awareness Day Jan. 11.

Kentucky Attorney General Anthony Beshear is planning a media and community event in the rotunda of the state capitol. Paris will speak at that event, which will be attended by some state legislators.

Beshear, whose office hosted a TAT coalition build in 2016, reports that human trafficking is on the increase in Kentucky, despite the fact that the state has some of the “best human-trafficking laws on the books.”

He said, “In other words, our structure is in place. What it needs is our focus and our expertise. In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, there’s no such thing as a child prostitute … that is a child being human trafficked, and people need to see that, whether it’s the terrible examples that we’ve seen of the foster parent selling his foster daughter’s body for furniture or people dressing up their kids in scandalous clothing outside a movie theater and trying to pimp them to folks. That’s human trafficking. The biggest impediment is people don’t understand it when they see it, and they don’t know the special investigative techniques that are needed for the laws that are out there so that we can successfully prosecute them. We’re committed to changing that.”

Beshear is currently working on partnerships between his office and those in the trucking and hotel industries to combat human trafficking. He hopes to find sponsors for and to file legislation that will make TAT training a mandatory part of entry-level CDL training requirements in Kentucky.

TAT sends two to Mississippi to provide four days of training

Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, and Beth Jacobs, TAT field trainer and survivor-leader, working with the law enforcement division of Mississippi’s DOT, will provide six three-hour training sessions in Mississippi Jan. 10-14 for motor vehicle enforcement and state patrol officers from across the state.

BETH JACOBS, SURVIVOR-LEADER AND TAT FIELD TRAINER, TEACHES LAW ENFORCEMENT TO USE A VICTIM-CENTERED APPROACH WITH TRAFFICKING SURVIVORS.

This three-hour, jointly taught training will include human trafficking 101, an overview of TAT’s Iowa MVE model, Jacob’s story with a focus on using a victim-centered approach, an activity called “Is Prostitution a Profession?” to provoke thoughts of prostitution being the oldest oppression not the oldest profession, and then case studies, giving attendees an understanding of how to handle similar situations and what to look for as signs of a person being trafficked. Jacobs provides a handout with local emergency housing and other resources, tips for using a victim-centered approach and contact information for a survivor leader living in Mississippi and willing to work with law enforcement.

“Organizations such as Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) recognize that members of the trucking industry are an invaluable asset in the fight against the heinous crime of human trafficking,” said Chief Willie Huff, Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) Office of Enforcement director. “With Mississippi having nearly 150 cases of human trafficking reported since 2007, it’s critical that MDOT Enforcement partners with organizations like TAT to further train our officers on ways to combat this increasing issue and uncover these victims in our state.”The trainings will take place in Batesville, Tupelo, Newton, the Mississippi DOT training room, McComb and Hattiesburg.

TAT News from the December 2016 Newsletter

Giving to TAT promises bang for your buck!

If you’re one of many individuals and companies planning your donation strategy for end-of-the-year giving, please consider Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) as a worthy recipient … worthy not only because of our mission but also because of the impact we’re making.

TAT works with one of the most critical transportation industries in our nation to help their 7-million members function as front-line responders in the fight against human trafficking. In the short seven years TAT has existed, and due, in large part, to the strategic, far-reaching and committed relationships we’ve built, members of the trucking industry are demonstrating their effectiveness in assisting law enforcement in realizing the arrest of perpetrators and the recovery of victims.

Consider, with just seven staff members, four of whom are part-time, TAT’s results include:

      • More than 280,000 trucking industry members have been registered as TAT Trained on our website. This is up from 174,761 at the end of 2015.
      • Truckers have now made 1534 calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, resulting in 471 potential cases, involving 1033 victims.
      • TAT’s survivor-leader Beth Jacobs has trained law enforcement at all of our coalition builds, and in enhanced trainings in Ohio, North Carolina, Kansas, and Maine. She is also leading TAT’s charge alongside AAMVA to help survivors obtain driver’s licenses.
      • In 2016, TAT held nine coalition builds across the nation … strategic meetings between law enforcement and industry stakeholders designed to close loopholes to traffickers at a local level.
      • In 2016, the Freedom Drivers Project attended 37 events in 21 states, traveling 32,044 miles, leaving more than 960,000 impressions along the way. More than 9,300 toured the exhibit this year alone, more than 20,000 since it debuted in August 2014.
      • 27 states have adopted the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement model in part or in whole.
      • In Ohio, TAT training is now mandated for all entry-level CDL holders. Multiple states are also looking at implementing this mandate.
      • Our Shipping Partners Program has grown this year through new relationships with Costco, Hewlett Packard and Praxair.
      • All 50 state trucking associations are now TAT partners.
      • TAT presented its Harriet Tubman Award to two TA/Petro employees in Jessup, Maryland, whose observations, quick thinking and follow-up call to police last year helped law enforcement in Howard County arrest three traffickers and recover six of the 12 women they were forcibly prostituting.
      • After being approached by representatives of the new Mexican human trafficking hotline, TAT has now added that hotline number to its wallet cards for drivers who may cross the border between the United States and Mexico as part of their jobs.
      • Facebook followers as of mid-November were 144,003; Twitter 30,216; and Instagram 6445.

TAT is recognized by legislators, lawmakers, law enforcement, the anti-trafficking world, survivors and many others for applying its efforts on programs and in directions that yield results, for its ability to create partnerships that provide effective problem-solving and mobilization of more people and companies and for its commitment to creating models that can be replicated across the transportation and into other industries.

Please join TAT’s work for this coming year with your end-of-the-year gift now. Together, we can continue to achieve truckloads of results.

TAT presents on coalition builds to Childhood Brasil’s On the Right Track program

TAT DEPUTY DIRECTOR KYLLA LANIER (LEFT) ASKED TRUCK DRIVERS TO STAND AT THE CHILDHOOD BRASIL CONFERENCE TO RECEIVE A STANDING OVATION.

Speaking before two select audience groups in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, presented TAT’s coalition build program on Nov. 22 at the request of Childhood Brasil, and its anti-trafficking trucking program, On the Right Track.

Recognizing that Brazil’s most important mode of transportation was trucking, Childhood Brasil, an organization created in 1999 to fight for children in Brazil to have a childhood free of exploitation and abuse, started its On the Right Track Program after conducting a nationwide study of drivers in 2005. The studies looked at, among other things, what life on the road is like, what drivers experience on the road, their sexual life, what exploitation they are seeing and what it looks like, whether they’re purchasing sex, etc.

Over 1500 companies in transportation and shipping participate, and drivers are referred to as “Protective Agents.” Because they see the exploitation, have information and intel, understand the lay of the land and know the hotspots, they are deemed the ones in the best position to help in the recovery of children who are being exploited.

Childhood Brasil trains company trainers who then train the drivers, but the training is much more comprehensive than just sex trafficking. Childhood Brasil covers the security of the roads, exploitation (sexual and otherwise), family communication, health, emotional health, etc.

However, following additional studies conducted in 2010 and 2015, the organization staff recognized they need to be more strategic in high-risk/vulnerable areas. They like the idea of TAT coalition builds for locations including harbor areas and industrial complexes. Apparently, truckers can be there for days at a time, and traffickers are targeting these areas. As many as a hundred companies can be in one industrial complex and ship out of the harbors. Childhood Brasil believes a modified coalition build between key companies (shipping and trucking and law enforcement) would be beneficial for combatting this.

At the conference where Lanier spoke, which also celebrated the 10-year anniversary of On the Right Track, more than 300 participants from companies, transportation, police and government and justice/security representatives were in attendance.

“This speaking opportunity was an honor,” said Lanier. “Knowing that the trucking community in Brazil is actively seeking to end sexual exploitation on their nation’s roads is so encouraging and inspiring. Hearing about their amazing work and getting to share about TAT’s coalition build program with them was a great privilege. We look forward to a continued collaboration with Childhood Brasil!”

Childhood Brasil also uses the TAT training video dubbed into Portuguese and are hosted on a weekly trucking show, similar to the Dave Nemo Show on Sirius XM, where they cover all manner of topics to truck drivers. 

All 50 state trucking associations now work with TAT

With the inclusion of Alaska and Hawaii this fall, all 50 state trucking associations have now pledged their support to Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) in raising awareness throughout their membership about the issue of human trafficking and the need for all companies to train their drivers and employees with the free training materials available through TAT.

Many of the state trucking associations not only have TAT speak at their annual conference, but they send out regular reminders to their members about the need to train with TAT materials; they use their influence to obtain additional speaking engagements for TAT staff when in the area; they hold fundraisers for TAT and/or become corporate sponsors; and they work with law enforcement in the state to expand distribution of TAT materials to trucking wherever possible.

A recent example of this kind of support came from Louis Campion, president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association (MMTA), who invited TAT to speak at the MMTA board of directors meeting in November. He then maximized the effectiveness of that trip by securing TAT two additional speaking engagements, one with the MMTA Eastern Shore Chapter meeting and one at the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools regional meeting, which was occurring nearby during the same week.

“I think the work Louis did to use his relationships on behalf of TAT and getting the message out about human trafficking and the need for training with TAT materials is that latest example of how state trucking association partnerships are so imperative and helpful to TAT,” commented Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “We are very grateful that one trip provided us with those three important opportunities.”

Freedom Drivers Project racks up the miles thanks to hauls from our partners

Anyone in trucking responsible for keeping trucks moving down the road is intimately acquainted with the cost per mile per truck, and the numerous expenses which contribute to the total amount.

For a non-profit organization like Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), focused on the education, equipping, empowering and mobilizing of the members of the trucking industry to fight human trafficking as part of their everyday jobs, as well as on raising awareness of the issue among the general public, keeping the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) on the road is a major undertaking. Without the generous help of partners, it would mean a significant expense impacting and perhaps curtailing or limiting other areas of the mission, including the production and distribution of training materials, travel to speaking engagements or the amount of activity for the FDP itself.

Last year, the FDP attended 32 events around the nation at a driver/gas cost alone of $42,000. This year, thanks to free hauls provided by a number of TAT partners, the FDP attended 37 events in 21 states, traveling 32,044 miles, leaving more than 960,000 impressions along the way, and the cost to TAT was only $6,300. More than 9,300 toured the exhibit in 2016.

“We are so appreciative of the companies and individuals who generously provided these hauls for the FDP,” said Helen Van Dam, FDP director. “They have proven themselves to be committed truckers against trafficking, and their investment in TAT and the FDP has resulted in thousands being visibly moved by the exhibit and equipped to join the fight to end this crime.”

Those responsible for FDP hauls in 2016 include Apex Transportation, AWL Transport Inc., Boyd Brothers Transportation, CAST Transportation, Central Tech, Classic Carriers Inc., Covenant Transportation, Godfrey Trucking, Heartland Express, Hoekstra Transportation LLC, JBS Carriers, Knight Transportation, MJ Tank Lines, P & S Transportation, Quality Distributions, Total Transportation of MS, LLC, Twin Eagle, USA Truck, Voyager Express, Walmart and Werner Enterprises. One donor also provided money specifically for one haul.

Since its debut in August 2014, the FDP has attended a total of 89 events in 30 states, traveling over 83,000 miles and been toured by close to 20,000 people from all walks of life and professions … from state and national legislators to company executives, mid-level managers, safety directors, law enforcement personnel, truck drivers and the general public. This year events have included press conferences in front of state capitols, trucking appreciation days, truck driving championships – both state and national, trucking shows – including the Iowa 80 Jamboree, trucking conferences, coalition builds, the Rotary World Peace Conference, state anti-human trafficking events, state fairs, and many others.

By August 2017, the FDP will be sporting a new look on the outside as well as new survivor artifacts and stories on the inside. “We want to keep the FDP fresh for people,” said Van Dam. “We hope that even if you’ve toured the FDP in the past, if you see us at an event you’re attending, that you’ll come by and tour again to take in all the changes we’ll be making.”

TAT News from the November 2016 Newsletter

TAT GIVES THANKS FOR SUPPORTERS, PARTNERS AND SUCCESSES

As we begin this month where we remember our blessings and give thanks for so much, TAT would like to thank all of our supporters and partners, especially those who go above and beyond to raise awareness and educate others about the realities of domestic sex trafficking. While it would be impossible to mention everyone by name in this article, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight a few

We’ve had some extremely advantageous speaking opportunities this year, thanks to organizations such as the ATA, AAMVA and the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement, which have included: the American Trucking Associations Management Conference and Exhibition Oct. 3, the American Trucking Associations Safety Management Council and Transportation Security Council’s 2016 Safety, Security and Human Resources National Conference Oct. 24-26, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators Annual International Conference in August, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Annual Conference and Exhibition in September. TAT was also invited to send its Freedom Drivers Project to the American Trucking Associations National Truck Driving Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana this summer. And thank you to the Arkansas Trucking Association for the invite to their state fair and all those who volunteered to help us at the Arkansas State Fair.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and Beth Jacobs, TAT field trainer, have fun at the Utah coalition build.

Additionally, we’ve had some excellent coalition builds this year and want to thank all of those in the Office of the Attorney General in those various states who worked so hard to help us host those events. A special shout-out to the OAG in Utah … that build was not only successful, but we’ve gained two more law enforcement trainings in Utah as a result.

The number of registered TAT-trained drivers/employees is now over 277,000 and closing in on 278,000. And people like Lindsey England, PHP, director of Human Resources at Pride Transport, are among those helping to increase those numbers. She wrote us to say, “I’ve been doing the TAT training every week, sometimes twice a week. Every Wednesday for our new hires and then every Thursday after our safety meetings. It’s really cool to see how many people are impacted by the training. Even though I do this regularly now, I still get choked up every week. This is a cause that I know I will spend the rest of my life supporting and advocating for.  The training has brought a huge amount of awareness and support throughout our organization. We’ve also set up a weekly payroll deduction for TAT. We’ll send those contributions in on a monthly basis.”

If you’re helping to train drivers but haven’t gone to our website to register the number trained, please do so now. It’s simple and takes only a couple minutes. 

HAVE YOU WATCHED THE TAT VIDEO … UPWORTHY STYLE?

If you haven’t, you should join the more than 1,908,922 people who have. A couple months ago, Upworthyapproached TAT to ask if they could reformat the TAT training video for their Facebook page so they could raise awareness about our organization. Their mission says:

Lots of media companies have a mission. But Upworthy is on a mission to change what the world pays attention to. We believe that stories about important issues can and should be great stories — stories for everyone, stories that connect us and sometimes even change the world. Because we’re all part of the same story.

So take a second and click here to check it out. There have been a great number of excellent comments about the trucking industry and what its members are doing to fight human trafficking.

THIRD QUARTER NUMBERS SHOW TRUCKER CALLS TO THE NHTRC CONTINUE TO RISE

Polaris Project, which runs the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), reports that as of the end of the third quarter 2016, calls from truckers were up to 1534, resulting in 471 potential cases of human trafficking, involving 1033 victims, of which 285 are minors. This is TAT in action, and we urge you to continue making those calls whenever you suspect human trafficking is taking place!

Your calls result in victims being recovered and perpetrators and buyers being arrested. The NHTRC provided the following third quarter incident report:

TAT News from the October 2016 Newsletter

TA Travel Plaza employees receive TAT’s Harriet Tubman Award

TOM LIUTKUS (CENTER), SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR TRAVELCENTERS OF AMERICA, PRESENTED THE HARRIET TUBMAN AWARD TO DEBO ADEPITI (LEFT), GENERAL MANAGER AT JESSUP, AND ALAN BAILY (RIGHT), PORTER.

Debo Adepiti and Alan Bailey, two TA Travel Plaza employees in Jessup, Maryland, have been awarded the Truckers Against Trafficking Harriet Tubman Award for their actions last year which resulted in the arrest of traffickers and the recovery of victims.

The award, which carries with it a $2500 check, is named in honor of famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman, whose courageous personal actions resulted in the transportation of 300 slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad and whose overall role in the freedom movement was instrumental in the freeing of thousands more. Born into slavery in 1820, Miss Tubman was the first African American woman buried with full military honors and the first to have the inaugural Liberty ship named after her – the SS Harriet Tubman – by the US Maritime Commission.

“Because of Harriet Tubman’s connection to transportation through the Underground Railroad and her heroic work to free thousands of slaves, TAT believes she epitomizes the symbol of freedom a trucking anti-trafficking award represents,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director.

Adepiti and Porter were presented the award and check on Sept. 20 at the Jessup travel plaza. “The training and procedures behind Truckers Against Trafficking are based on a very simple instruction: if you see or suspect something, call,” said Tom Liutkus, senior vice president of marketing and public relations for TravelCenters of America. “Alan and Debo did just that. Their actions led to the arrest of a three-person trafficking ring that was canvassing the entire Baltimore area and that law enforcement was already pursuing. Most importantly, newspaper accounts of the story indicate as many as 12 women had been trafficked across that area. Alan and Debo’s call has forever resulted in changing the lives of those victims for the better. By strict definition of the word, their action was not ‘heroic,’ but the results were. We at TA/Petro are very proud of them.”

Field manager Adepiti at the TA Travel Plaza was making a premise check, including the fuel desk, mechanics shop and hotel, when Alan Bailey, the night porter, told him a young lady had recently come in dressed provocatively; the porter suspected prostitution. After speaking with both the driver of the ban that brought the girl, as well as the young lady when she left the hotel, Adepiti believed the girl was being trafficked. He contacted Howard County police. When detectives arrived, they recognized a woman from one of the “X-Factor” ads they’d been investigating for two months on Backpage.com. As a result of Adepiti’s call, they arrested two men and a woman on human trafficking charges. The trio were advertising as many as 12 women from various states, posting ads, renting hotel rooms, scheduling appointments for prostitution and taking money from the women after they were forced to perform sex acts. Detectives also learned all three individuals provided drugs to keep the women high, making them work without sleep, assaulting them and forcing them to perform sex acts with them under threat. Police were able to locate and recover six of the women being abused by the ring of traffickers.

 Oregon becomes 47th state trucking association to partner with TAT

KYLLA LANIER (LEFT), TAT DEPUTY DIRECTOR, AND JANA JARVIS (RIGHT), OTA PRESIDENT

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is delighted to welcome the Oregon Trucking Association as one of its state trucking association partners. Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, presented at the Oregon Trucking Association’s Annual Leadership Conference in Redmond, Oregon on Sept. 24. OTA president Jana Jarvis pledged the association’s support in furthering TAT’s message among their 450 member companies. TAT was warmly welcomed, and carriers in the room took training materials back to their companies in the hopes that their drivers can be “changemakers” in someone’s life.

“The sincerity of the OTA staff’s response to TAT’s message was very encouraging. We look forward to working with them to make sure Oregon’s trucking industry is educated and equipped to stand up against the scourge of human trafficking,” said Lanier.

TAT message well-received at CVSA annual conference

With law enforcement officers and commercial transportation industry members gathered from across the nation to strategize on and discuss road safety issues, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) annual conference, held in Little Rock, Arkansas this year, was an ideal audience for the message of Truckers Against Trafficking.

On Sept. 19, Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, presented in both the Region III jurisdiction meeting, which includes law enforcement and industry representatives from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin, as well as the associate members meeting, which includes transportation safety organizations and trade associations, trucking and bus companies, industry suppliers and vendors, training institutions, consultants, insurance companies, state and provincial trucking associations and small-fleet owner operators.

“The TAT message was extremely well-received in both meetings, and, afterwards, I had law enforcement personnel, large and small fleets, as well as multiple bus companies, introduce themselves and pledge to TAT train. I’d love to give a big TAT shout-out to both Chief Lorenzen, of the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement, for arranging the Region III presentation time, and to Jason Wing, director of fleet safety for Walmart, for making sure TAT was able to present at the associate members meeting. Both men are classic examples of using your influence well, and their simple action will have an exponential effect.”

OVER 250 ASSOCIATE MEMBERS ATTENDED THE CVSA MEETING.

Freedom Drivers Project helps Covenant Transportation celebrate its drivers

Covenant Transportation, a new TAT silver level sponsor and partner, hosted Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, and the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) on Sept. 12-13 in Chattanooga, Tennessee for their driver appreciation days. Over 200 employees toured the FDP, and 75 attended training sessions to learn more about human trafficking and how they could be part of the solution.

Andrew Scharff, Covenant program manager and the man who coordinated TAT’s visit, said, “At Covenant, one of the values we are built on is putting others before ourselves and feel this makes our relationship with TAT and its mission a perfect fit. We are excited about our growing partnership and the lives that can be changed forever through it.”

Covenant supplied volunteers to help work the FDP for the visit. They also committed to training all their employees with TAT training materials and even created an introductory video for their drivers and other employees, detailing why they believe TAT training is important. Additionally, they made a video for their Facebook page urging everyone to come out and tour the FDP.

“It’s always exciting when you get to hear people speak about TAT’s mission as their own mission. When the fight against trafficking, and the importance of the trucking industry to that fight, resonates with people personally, as it does with those at Covenant, it makes for a solid partnership,” commented Lanier.

KYLLA LANIER (FACING THE CAMERA), TAT DEPUTY DIRECTOR, TAKES TWO COVENANT TRANSPORT EMPLOYEES THROUGH THE FDP.

TAT News from the September 2016 Newsletter

Editorial comment on Tennessee Bureau of Investigation bust of commercial sex buyers

by Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director

It was very interesting to read some of the comments on our Facebook post in August about a bust that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation conducted netting 41 buyers of commercial sex. It was an operation where agents posed as prostituted people, and men, looking to engage in the illegal practice of prostitution, made arrangements to meet with and pay for sexual acts with these supposed prostituted people. Many of the men asked for minors.

While the majority of the comments commended law enforcement’s efforts and saw the validity of going after the demand side of the commercial sex industry, there were a disheartening number of comments on our page related to this post defending or feeling sorry for the would-be buyers of commercial sex. And even though they were the minority on our page, it is to those commentators that we felt we needed to respond, because it reflects a deep misunderstanding of the issue.

Please note that when law enforcement does prostitution stings to lock up those being prostituted, no one bats an eye.Law enforcement pose as sex buyers, and when money is exchanged or verbal confirmation of said agreement is recorded, boom, they make the arrest. No one cries foul, because what the prostituted person is doing is illegal, and the intent was there, even if the action never took place. And no one seems to feel sad or sorry for the prostituted person, even though we know that most of them have pimps (even the adults) and are there under pimp control or for the lack of other viable options.

Now, the exact same thing happened here, but instead of posing as the buyer, law enforcement posed as the prostituted person. Men WILLINGLY went to the sites, set up meetings and had their money in hand. Many asked for a minor. The intent was there; the money was ready to go. Yet, now, there is outrage for these “poor men” who were “tricked” and “entrapped.”

Those suggesting that the buyers have had their lives ruined, because they were cited and fined are john apologists. Stop excusing their behavior. Stop lessening it. They are the root of the problem. They went with the intent to commit an illegal act. No one held a gun to their head. No one forced them to be trolling the sites. Please understand that having worked with law enforcement all over this country, officers say that in their “john” busts, all the buyers always say it was their first time, even though records show otherwise. Until we stop making excuses for the BUYERS — those driving this whole illegal market in the first place — we can’t end sex trafficking.

But beyond those just feeling sorry for these “poor men” who “didn’t know any better” and who were “tempted by “hot” girls and couldn’t control themselves,” we had multiple comments about just legalizing prostitution. These people’s reasoning included excuses for men such as needing sex on demand, needing prostitutes so they don’t rape “good women,” being unable to attract a woman and needing to buy sex and buying sex is like dating and marriage. They also declared that either you could end sex trafficking by legalizing prostitution or that the problem is so large, you might as well join those clamoring for legalized prostitution.

The ignorance in the above statements is staggering. Setting the bar so low for men is amazingly insulting. The concept that we need a class of disposable women in our society to be raped and exploited is, at its core, the worst example of misogyny. To those who think the sexual exploitation of predominantly women is just like dating and marriage, we think you may need to examine your relationships and perhaps hold yourself to a higher standard.

The erroneous belief that sex trafficking ends where prostitution is legal is perhaps one of the most under researched and ignorant statements of all. Unless you mean that because law enforcement would neither have the inclination, funds or resources allotted to the monitoring of prostitution when it is “just another business” and, therefore, sex trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of victims would be completely ignored and no arrests of traffickers or recoveries of victims would occur, then we guess you are right. The sex trafficking and exploitation would just happen, and no one would know … sort of why it is allowed to exist in the first place. Sex trafficking is inherent in the commercial sex industry … the “legal” commercial sex industry. Normalizing the purchase of commercial sex simply leads to increased demand for it, and there aren’t enough willing participants selling it. It will only lead to more and more trafficking.

Demand Abolition has put together many academic articles and reports from all over the world into one location on their site that speak to the increase of trafficking when legalization of prostitution occurs.

We have to get serious about the demand side of prostitution and sex trafficking. Will there always be an element seeking commercial sex? Sure, but instead of caving into that minority, let’s send a clear message that we are done accepting their bad behavior. We are done letting it slide, giving it a slap on the wrist, and making excuses for them. That starts with you and me.

Jacobs presents on survivor identification needs at AAMVA Annual International Conference

BETH JACOBS, TAT FIELD TRAINER

Whether their ID cards are destroyed by their traffickers, or they’re arrested and photographed under a false name, survivors of human trafficking often face a serious, Catch-22 struggle to obtain the basic and necessary identification documents to succeed – such as a driver’s license – once they begin trying to put their lives back together.

Because TAT Field Trainer Beth Jacobs experienced this situation herself as a survivor, and also works to help other survivors overcome the obstacles hindering them in the process of regaining proper ID, Jacobs presented to more than 120 participants at the Annual International Conference (AIC) of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) Aug. 16-18 in Virginia.

The AIC showcases the latest trends in the motor vehicle and law enforcement community and provides a forum for chief administrators to learn and grow from fellow colleagues. “AAMVA members are in a unique position to help victims of human trafficking recover their lives,” stated Anne Ferro, AAMVA president and CEO. “TAT Field Trainer Beth Jacobs educated our attendees about specific ways they can assist survivors in obtaining a proper ID.”

“I attended the human trafficking session at the AIC,” said Julie Knittle, assistant director of the Department of Licensing in Washington state, “and I would like to thank Beth for the candid presentation and sharing her personal journey. I learned a lot about how the human trafficking world operates but, more importantly, how the DMVs can assist the survivors with driver licenses and ID cards. DMVs can play an important role in assisting someone gain necessary identity documents and take an important step forward in rebuilding his or her life. Thanks again!”

Jacobs presented on the ways DMVs can work with partner agencies (social security, vital records, USCIS, Department of State, victim advocacy groups, etc.) to help survivors obtain critical identification documents and be advocates for those who need it most. She was also able to make excellent contacts at the event, which she hopes will enable TAT to broaden the base of support for survivors working on the ID process. There are currently 10 states in the nation she can connect with in regard to assisting survivors with obtaining their IDs.

“I am intimately acquainted with the struggles survivors face putting our lives back together,” commented Jacobs. “Getting these pieces of ID, like our driver’s license, are imperative if we’re to be successful. It was wonderful to see how many people within AAMVA wanted to help victims become survivors. We are off to a great start creating a system in each state to help victims change their lives.”

Freedom Drivers Project makes first appearance at National Truck Driving Championships

The Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) made its first appearance at the National Truck Driving Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana in August, thanks to an invitation from th American Trucking Association.

“We had a fantastic day connecting with associations and companies from around the country,” said Helen Van Dam, FDP director. “We trained drivers and reached safety directors who will go back and train more drivers. Thank you to everyone who came by and toured the Freedom Drivers Project. Congratulations to all of the competitors for your accomplishments and keep on truckin’ on.”

A special thank you as well to TLX Transport, a division of AWL Transport, Inc. dba TLX, for hauling the Freedom Drivers Project to Indianapolis.

TAT presents at HELP Inc. board meeting

KENDIS PARIS, TAT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PRESENTED AT THE HELP IN.C BOARD MEETING

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, and the Freedom Drivers Project, were front and center at the 2016 board meeting for HELP Inc., the oldest non-profit public/private partnership dedicated to advancing the safety and efficiency of the commercial transportation industry, when it was held in Broomfield, Colorado in August.

Representatives from both the public and private sectors (law enforcement and trucking) serve on the HELP, Inc. board of directors and play the critical role of authorizing HELP’s services, pricing and related policies, while ensuring safety and regulatory compliance.

“It was a great privilege to speak at the HELP Inc. board meeting,” Paris commented. “To be surrounded by so many high-level industry and law enforcement agencies that are already doing so much to help combat domestic sex trafficking was extremely encouraging. Not only that, TAT came away from the day with additional partners and several offers to bring the Freedom Drivers Project to board members’ home states. TAT can’t thank Karen Rasmussen, and the HELP Inc board, enough for the opportunity and for our strong partnership.”

HELP Inc. has supported TAT for several years, both as a silver level sponsor and by spreading the word about TAT through strategic networks. Paris spoke for 30 minutes and all board members had the opportunity to tour the Freedom Drivers Project, which was graciously driven to and from the event by CAST Transportation.

Thanks to you, TAT has completed the Change a Path matching grant challenge

In just a month’s time, thanks to the generosity of individuals and companies, donations and sponsorships TAT has completed the $25,000 Change A Path matching grant challenge. The challenge, which was to run from August through October, provides TAT with some of the necessary funding for critical programs such as coalition builds, the Freedom Drivers Project and industry training materials. Everyone at TAT so appreciates every one of you who gave.

Great American Trucking Show always a pleasure

THE TAT TEAM AT GATS (LEFT TO RIGHT): MICHELLE BISHOP, KYLLA LANIER, KENDIS PARIS, HELEN VAN DAM, AND MOLLY WOLFF

From engaging in powerful conversations with parents of victimized children to educating newcomers to the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) with an understanding of human trafficking, the TAT team enjoyed the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) in Dallas Aug. 25-27. Thanks to all those trucking companies and owner-operators who are already training with TAT materials, to those 1000-plus people who toured the FDP or stopped by the TAT booth to take materials and to the GATS staff who put on a quality show.

TAT News from the August 2016 Newsletter

National Public Radio promotes article on trucking and Truckers Against Trafficking

National Public Radio recently promoted one of its July 13 articles, titled “Truckers Take the Wheel in Effort to Halt Sex Trafficking” by Reporter Frank Morris, into its Best of NPR category, giving it longer air time and greater visibility. Prior to writing the article, Morris interviewed Beth Jacobs, TAT field trainer and survivor/leader, as well as Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, and a host of trucking/travel plaza representatives.

As a result of this article, TAT has received quite a few e-mail inquiries and some new donations.

NPR — Sex trafficking wasn’t a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice. Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon. Click here to read more.

TEC Equipment joins TAT as sponsor and dealership partner

SURROUNDED BY A NUMBER OF TEC EQUIPMENT EMPLOYEES, GUIDO HAJENIUS, (RIGHT CENTER), RECEIVED THE CHECK FOR TAT TEC EQUIPMENT REGIONAL PRESIDENT VICTOR SALVINO (LEFT CENTER).

TEC Equipment, the West’s premiere, multi-point, full-service truck and trailer dealership with 23 locations throughout Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California, has become a $25,000 TAT platinum sponsor, as well as a TAT Dealership Partner (TDP). As a TDP, TEC Equipment has additionally committed to distributing TAT materials at each of its locations.

Guido Hajenius, TAT strategic coordinator, received the check from TEC Equipment Regional President Victor Salvino at a special presentation at TEC Equipment’s La Mirada location. Hajenius was impressed by the number of employees who listened intently to his remarks and wanted to take a picture with him. “This was not a publicity stunt for them,” he stated. “They were proud to know how this sponsorship was making a difference in helping to save peoples’ lives. The TAT Dealership Partner program allows companies like TEC to not just financially sponsor the work TAT does, but to spread awareness and distribute TAT materials through the stores to other truck drivers,”

“We chose TAT, because it’s part of our industry and supported by our State Trucking Association and several large Industry suppliers, including Volvo Trucks,” stated Georgia Field, office manager for TEC Equipment. “We know the severity of the problem and want to help.”

Freedom Drivers Project makes first appearance at the Iowa 80 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

The Freedom Drivers Project (FDP), with TAT Programs Coordinator Michelle Bishop managing the exhibit, welcomed more than 1,000 people through its doors at the 37th annual Iowa 80 Walcott Truckers Jamboree, July 13-15. Volunteers from the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement (MVE) division helped Bishop with the exhibit, by working both inside and outside TAT’s traveling museum, inviting people to tour, helping people digest what they were seeing and reading, as well as answering any questions they had.

Bishop reported that many people departed the FDP with in-depth questions to gain a better understanding of how trafficking happens and how to spot it. “They were amazed,” she said, “that trafficking happens in our country and that it happens as prolifically as it does. They were also happy there was a way to actively get involved. I had many people come and tell me stories about how they have already helped a victim and thanked us for what we do.”

Sergeant Scott Knudtson with Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement explains to visitors the importance of the information the FDP provides and how they can help fight human trafficking.

Ohio law enforcement, transportation leaders continue united front in fighting human trafficking

Two significant events took place in Ohio at the end of June and the beginning of July that will significantly impact the fight against human trafficking.

On July 1, Ohio became the first state in the Union to begin TAT training as a compulsory portion of the curriculum for entry-level CDL licensing. In response to this action, a number of other states are also looking to see if they can institute a similar mandate in their CDL training.

Prior to that, at the end of June, Captain Mike Crispen of Licensing and Commercial Standards for the Ohio State Highway Patrol held his second annual transportation coalition meeting in Columbus with more than 60 participants from the trucking/travel plaza industry, law enforcement, transportation leaders and anti-human trafficking coalition members.

They not only discussed successes from 2015, which Capt. Crispen reports have contributed to a 32-percent increase in calls from Ohio to the National Human Trafficking hotline and 125 additional cases, but they decided on action items for the 2016-2017 year to include:

      • Identify ways the coalition can provide help to threatened families of victims
      • Raise awareness among hotel industry and provide training
      • Target rural communities

o   Trade shows

o   County fairs

o   Distribute TAT/awareness flyers to hotel staff

      • Identify solutions to housing for victims
      • Provide in-depth training to law enforcement
      • Find ways to drive the TAT and awareness/prevention message to the youth

“The industry wanted to continue to educate new hires,” Crispen said, “and suggested ending every meeting at work with a specific trafficking message (TAT videos), and place posters on trailers. Ohio State Patrol provided window clings for cars and posters for trailers which were taken by the members to display on their personal cars and place on their trucks.”

Crispen said participants also discussed identifying or creating a program to help educate and, subsequently, prevent young people from getting caught up in the human trafficking world. This information would be provided to drivers to take home to their families and spread the word. Participants would also use their personal social sites to do the same.

TAT FEILD TRAINER BETH JACOBS, SHOWN HERE WITH CAPT. MIKE CRISPIN OF THE OHIO HIGHWAY STATE PATROL, PROVIDED A TRAINING AT OHIO’S SECOND ANNUAL TRAFFIC COALITION MEETING.

Beth Jacobs, TAT’s field trainer and a survivor/leader, provided a training at the meeting. “The questions from the audience were voluminous,” Crispen reported, “and had to be ended to move to the next agenda. Everyone was very appreciative of the training, and the law enforcement officers stated they really learned a lot about how the victims think and why they act around them the way they do. This training will allow them to adjust their interactions to gain their (the survivor’s) confidence and/or ensure there is a coalition member with them during the interactions. One said he never really saw the world from their point of view and that it really opened his eyes. Another said all officers need to hear this. The coalition members were very interested in how Beth utilized resources and why or why not. I think this was enlightening to them to help direct their resources appropriately.”

As a result of the meeting, participants will continue to spread the TAT message through training and awareness; they will look to coalition members to work with law enforcement and task forces to interview victims; and they hope their efforts result in double the percentage of calls in the next year.

Jacobs and TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier will conduct another law enforcement training in Olathe, Kansas on Aug. 3.

Double your donation: Accept the Change a Path matching grant challenge

Between August and October, Change a Path (CAP), an organization providing financial grants to support not-for-profit organizations working in the sex-trafficking space, is providing a $25,000 matching grant challenge to TAT. For every dollar donated to TAT during those three months, Change a Path will match the amount given, up to $25,000.

“As our model works to bring funders and supporters together to maximize our impact, we are offering TAT a matching grant opportunity to expand its fundraising potential,” said Shannon Rogers, CAP founder. “In (this) our second grant to TAT, we hope to broaden the impact of our giving by encouraging TAT’s friends, partners and supporters to join this giving campaign. TAT is committed to addressing a challenging problem that requires community and business engagement; we all need to work together to support them in their efforts. Together we can make a difference.”

In 2015, Change a Path provided a $25,000 grant to TAT for its coalition builds.

MEMBERS OF THE CHANGE A PATH ADVISORY BOARD ARE (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT): FRONT ROW: JEN CAVENAUGH, SHANNON ROGERS; BACK ROW: JULIE CASKEY, RUTH SIEGMUND, MONICA GYULAI

Visit TAT at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas

Checking out all the great exhibits at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) in Dallas this year, Aug. 25-27? Visit TAT at Booth 21098 at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center. Come say hello, tour the Freedom Drivers Project and learn how you can play your part in combating domestic sex trafficking as part of your everyday job.

TAT News from the July 2016 Newsletter

TAT releases new, inspirational video

In a short six minutes, Con-way Truckload driver Kevin Kimmel details his experience with human trafficking while resting at a truck stop in Virginia. He shares what made him suspicious that something was wrong with the activity of inhabitants in a vehicle with blacked-out windows which had pulled back by the lines of quiet trucks and what happened after he called for law enforcement help. The video also shares the transformation that takes place in the lives of survivors once they’re recovered from a life of slavery by giving a glimpse into the impact a number of survivors are making with their lives now that they’re free.

“Kevin’s story demonstrates the reality that we are all change makers,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, “and the power of taking a second look and getting involved. We wanted to create a video to inspire people, to help them understand that the choices they make can really unlock the pathway to freedom for someone who is being enslaved.”

The video can be viewed on the TAT website by clicking here.

Tajuan McCarty said, “During the time I was trafficked, I didn’t have a voice. I couldn’t speak for myself and no one looked at me as a person, I was only a commodity. To be able to speak now and help TAT raise awareness honors my past pain, and I pray helps others to see our pain, realizing we are worthy of more than being bought and sold.”

Beth Jacobs commented, “Survivor leadership is imperative in this movement. Our voices must be heard, our expertise and experience acknowledged. Truckers Against Trafficking embraces that responsibly by providing a platform to give our input while amplifying the survivor voice. I am proud to represent TAT as I strive to educate and create positive changes in our world.”

Tanya Street expressed, “I want survivors and non survivors alike to know what it’s like to become whole, to dream again, and to know what it means to love and to be loved. Healing is a process and not an impossible journey, although a difficult one. Humanity is able to heal itself if we stand together. My journey was helped through the support of organizations like TAT who supported me and encouraged me to continue even in the face of disappointments. TAT showed me there is hope, and they’re willing to do what is necessary to do their part. They have brought a standard of excellence to the movement, and I am grateful to be a part of it. Thank you TAT!!”

Dorsey Laquan Cook shared, “Survivors are more than just a story. We are powerful, brave warriors that are blessed to pull our sisters out of darkness and help them to heal and understand the power they have within. We are the voice for the voiceless.”

Florida Trucking Association ‘walks the talk’ in TAT support

Although Dr. Ken Armstrong, president and CEO of the Florida Trucking Association (FTA), had a general knowledge of human trafficking, it was in 2014 when he met Scott Perry, vice president of supply management at Ryder and a member of TAT’s board of directors, that the issue took on greater urgency for him.

KYLLA LANIER, (CENTER), TAT DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FLANKED BY KEN ARMSTRONG, PRESIDENT OF THE FLORIDA TRUCKING ASSOCIATION (FTA), AND TISHA KELLER, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FTA, RECENTLY SPENT TIME TALKING ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING WITH FTA MEMBERS AT  THE FLORIDA TRUCK DRIVING CHAMPIONSHIP.

“Scott was so passionate and persuasive that I knew we had to do something special,” Armstrong said. “My first tangible action was to invite Scott to be one of our key presenters for the board of directors’ meeting at our annual conference. I also alerted our executive committee that I hoped, following Scott’s speech, FTA would vote to formally endorse TAT and become an official partner. They liked the idea of FTA formally going ‘on the record,’ and sure enough, a motion was made and passed unanimously.”

A veteran of the non-profit sector in his 25-plus-year career and a man who has led four different organizations as CEO, Armstrong believes one of the crucial functions of an association is advocacy. “Ordinarily, we think of that voice being used on behalf of the members — toward regulators, legislators, or the general public,” he said. “But used exclusively in that way, the voice is only self-motivated. We can and should use those same muscles on behalf of something beyond and bigger than ourselves. Human trafficking is hateful. The perpetrators are loathsome and evil. The trucking community has the wherewithal to make a difference. It’s not okay with FTA for us, our members, our drivers to remain neutral or silent on modern-day slavery. We can do something, and we are committed to becoming an obstacle for human traffickers.  I want FTA to stand for what is right and positive about our highways and our people.”

To that end, Armstrong uses his position to influence and include TAT wherever and whenever possible.  “That means that, when we hold a charity golf tournament, we can encourage the committee to designate TAT as a recipient,” he explained, “or when we are identifying items for the Road Team to get involved in, we can underline TAT and do ‘train the trainer.’ In specific terms, we can ‘schedule’ TAT into FTA activities. TAT has presented at FTA events, been a special guest at our Spring Round-Up and been a focal point at the Truck Driving Championships. We mention TAT from the stage, introduce TAT to decision makers, and share raffle proceeds with TAT. People know that, when FTA talks about partnerships and causes, TAT is always going to come up.”

While he praises TAT for its follow-through, availability and ability to “partner well,” Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, directs the kudos back to FTA, “To have a partner like the FTA, and the incredible backing of its leadership is really a dream. At every event I have been to for the FTA, it is as if I were part of the family rather than the visitor. The inclusiveness and ‘all in’ attitude of this partnership, which includes the enthusiastic encouragement to their member companies to join forces with TAT, has resulted in companies training their drivers, dealers and manufacturers using their influence to spread the word about TAT to their audiences, and financial support of TAT’s mission. It has been said that attitude reflects leadership, and I believe that to be true in the case of the Florida Trucking Association. I cannot say enough about them.”

Combined events for law enforcement, trucking work to strengthen relationship

When trucking and law enforcement work closely together, there is not only greater safety on the roads, but, when it comes to human traffickers, they pose a combined threat to this criminal activity.

In Washington state, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and the Washington Trucking Association (WTA) have held their annual Truck Driving Championships and Washington State Inspectors Challenge as a combined event for 19 years. This year, Truckers Against Trafficking was invited to attend the June 18 event in Kent, Washington.

“The Washington State Inspector’s Challenge is a great example of how law enforcement and the commercial vehicle industry partner together to acknowledge their employees who perform at a high level in their respective careers,” said Asst. Capt. Jason Berry of the WSP. “This year a special relationship was formed between the Washington State Patrol and Truckers Against Trafficking in an effort to educate drivers on what they can do to combat human trafficking. It is our hope that this partnership will flourish here in Washington state, so we can put an end to these horrific crimes happening here in the United States and around the world.”

In recent months, TAT has had the opportunity to train members of the WSP on human trafficking and the importance of working with the trucking industry. One of the results from this training is that the WSP has implemented parts of the Iowa MVE model and hopes to have a TAT coalition build in the state in the future.

At this event, Michelle Bishop, TAT programs coordinator, further solidified the relationship/partnership between the WTA and WSP on the issue of human trafficking by addressing drivers on how to get involved, showing them the new Kevin Kimmel video and then addressing the whole crowd. “Not only was I able to deepen our relationship with members of the state patrol,” she said, “but I got to educate them a little more on how to engage the trucking industry on this issue. I was also able to speak with many members/drivers from the Washington trucking community about getting trained, training their fleet, or taking info back to their safety directors to consider implementing.”

TAT PROGRAMS COORDINATOR MICHELLE BISHOP, CENTER, POSES WITH SOME OF THE PARTICIPANTS FROM THE WASHINGTON STATE INSPECTORS CHALLENGE.

TAT News from the June 2016 Newsletter

Freedom Drivers Project continues to be popular exhibit across the country

MANY LEGISLATORS AND TRUCKING REPRESENTATIVES HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TOUR THE FDP AT THE NEW YORK STATE CAPITOL IN ALBANY.

From trucking events to TAT coalition builds, state fairs and anti-trafficking events hosted by government officials and others, the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) continues to make an impact and change lives and hearts with its information on domestic sex trafficking and what the trucking industry is doing to fight it.

Most recently, the FDP was parked in front of the capitol building in Albany, New York for the New York State Motor Association’s Trucking Moves NY: Day at the Capitol. “It was a fantastic day to make connections with trucking, law enforcement and legislators,” commented Helen Van Dam, FDP director. “We’re looking forward to training more drivers and law enforcement in New York in the months to come!”

Earlier this year, one of the FDP’s stops was at Boyd Brothers Transportation in Birmingham, Alabama. The company hosted the trailer to further educate its employees on the role the trucking industry plays in combating human trafficking. They already have all employees going through TAT training and have TAT decals on all their trucks.

Company driver Mike Usery, a Boyd Brothers employee for 26 years who has driven over three million safe miles, picked up the FDP trailer in Gulf Port, Mississippi in his company truck and hauled it to Boyd Brothers in Clayton, Alabama before bringing it to the headquarters in Birmingham. He then took it to Georgia Truck Driving Championship.

“It’s truly been an honor to pull this trailer and be part of something this special,” he said. “There are people out there that don’t know about this, that it’s really going on. It needs to get out there, so it’s truly been an honor to be a part of this.”

In 2016 alone, the FDP has already been driven 15,148 miles to 17 events in 13 states and been toured by 4,906 people. Its summer schedule is hectic, including four events in June alone in Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois and Colorado. Then it will head to Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, back to Colorado and down to Dallas for the Great American Trucking Show Aug. 25-27.

None of this travel would be possible without the help of those companies who have donated hauls and often volunteered to help TAT man the exhibit as well. These include, in 2016 alone, MJ Tank Lines, Walmart, Central Tech, Twin Eagle, CAST Transportation, Knight Transportation-Las Vegas, Total Transportation of Mississippi and Boyd Bros.

And a shout-out as well to the sponsors who keep TAT and the FDP on the road:

Field Trainer and Survivor Leader Beth Jacobs presented Courage Award

BETH JACOBS AND ACTRESS MIRA SORVINO TAKE A SELFIE AT THE GALA.

Beth Jacobs, TAT’s field trainer and a survivor leader, was honored with the Courage Award at the 18th annual From Slavery to Freedom Gala hosted by the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) in Los Angeles, California on May 10. This annual event brings together survivors, celebrities, civic leaders and socially-conscious entrepreneurs for the cause of ending modern slavery.

Jacobs, the founder of Willow Way, a support group empowering victims of trafficking, is well known nationally for her public policy work to help survivors clear their records and obtain the necessary legal/documentation support to succeed in their lives after recovery from trafficking.

In addition to her presentation at a coalition build in Tyler, Texas on June 7, Jacobs will be sharing her experiences as a trafficking victim and discussing techniques for interacting with and interviewing the suspected human trafficking victim at Ohio State Patrol’s Transportation Coalition meeting on June 27 in Columbus, Ohio.

This is the second annual Transportation Coalition meeting hosted by OSP. The theme of this year’s meeting will be how the Department of Public Safety/Ohio State Patrol can help transportation industry members in Ohio accomplish their goals in fighting human trafficking — what do they need from OSP, and what do they expect from this coalition. The meeting will also include a brief overview of the successes from the past year and subcommittee work to plan for the coming year.

More states adopting the Iowa MVE model

In recent months, following increased presentations to law enforcement and DOT officials, more states have adopted TAT’s Iowa MVE model, either fully or in part, bringing the total number of states using this model to 22. Iowa, Ohio and Michigan have all adopted it fully, and the other states have adopted parts of the model.

“Once TAT is able to get the IA MVE model in front of decision makers in a state, adoption and implementation seem to follow rapidly,” Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, said. “We are extremely encouraged to see ‘often overlooked’ agencies in the fight against human trafficking become activated upon understanding the critical role their office can play.”

The Iowa MVE model, which was created by Chief David Lorenzen and his staff at the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement in 2013, helps law enforcement mobilize the trucking industry in their state by following these steps:

      • Train Motor Vehicle Enforcement or law enforcement officers with TAT materials.
      • Stock weigh stations, ports of entry and rest areas with TAT materials.
      • Visit truck stops with TAT materials, urging them to train employees and distribute.
      • Implement TAT Training as part of mandatory safety compliance meetings within

trucking companies.

      • Spread awareness about TAT via multiple channels—website, Truck Information Guide,

state fair, Road Check, etc.

      • Use influence to spread the word about TAT to trucking (and other) agencies (i.e. DIAP,

CVSA, AAMVA, motor coach industry, driver services staff, etc.).

      • Incorporate TAT training DVD and wallet cards into all programs that MVE builds (law

enforcement, service clubs, motor carrier industry).

      • Use asset forfeiture funds to pay for TAT materials.
      • Join the NHTRC law enforcement network.
      • Introduce Truckers Against Trafficking to your state trucking association.
      • Ensure that every CDL issued (or renewed) is accompanied with a TAT wallet card.
      • Mandate TAT training for entry-level CDL curriculum statewide.
      • Begin collecting data of interdiction stops that lead to human trafficking investigations.

Survivor’s Ink helps survivors reclaim their bodies

Branding, burning and scarring are all marks purposely left by traffickers and abusers on the bodies of their victims to remind them that they’re “property,” owned by someone other than themselves. Brandings propagate psychological enslavement for survivors, serving as constant reminders of the violence they’ve suffered.

Jennifer Kempton, founder and director of Survivor’s Ink, joined TAT on the Dave Nemo Show, Sirius XM Radio, on May 10 to discuss branding and what her organization does to reverse the hold those marks have on victims. Survivor’s Ink works to empower survivors to break those psychological chains by reclaiming their bodies through the beautification, removal or covering of their physical scars, markings and brandings. This de-branding experience enables the victim, now a survivor, to reclaim his or her body and stand up against the trafficker.

Kempton’s website says, “We strive to provide the most memorable experience possible for these survivors to reclaim their bodies.  The initial branding was not obtained by choice, so we ensure the survivors work hand in hand with the artist to obtain a tattoo of their personal choosing.  We provide transportation, meals, occasional personal necessities, as well as continued support through resources and our survivors’ network.”

They do this by forming partnerships with specific, screened tattoo artists anywhere possible to make it easier for survivors around the world to obtain services near them.  These artists are required to abide by a specific standard of quality and behavior to ensure the survivors are properly cared for and not exposed to any further exploitation.

Kempton explains that the most common brands they see are dollar signs, names, hearts with an initial and typical gang insignia. She asks members of the trucking industry to be particularly observant of tattoos and on the alert should they see these types of “brands” on girls/ boys or women wherever they travel.

“I love being a part of the journey of enabling survivors to reclaim their bodies,” she explained. “When you throw in our street outreach in addition to that, and being able to help currently enslaved victims gain the ability to escape or just give them hope, what I do is only made more rewarding. And then, probably the best part of what we do is the prevention education we’re doing in schools to keep our youth from falling victim in the first place. I absolutely love what I do. It gives my life and the horror I suffered as a slave an amazing purpose!”

TAT News from the May 2016 Newsletter AAMVA webinar critical first step in helping survivors recover driver’s license

Many people often want to help fight human trafficking but have no idea how their lives or jobs could intersect with victims in order to do so. To help employees at DMVs across the nation understand how they can aid in the fight, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) hosted a webinar in April with TAT staff members Kylla Lanier, deputy director, and Beth Jacobs, survivor leader and field trainer, participating.

Victims of human trafficking have trouble re-establishing themselves in society under their true identity, as they often lack proper identification to obtain a government-issued driver’s license. The webinar’s goal was to help establish a point of contact in every DMV across the nation that survivors could access to assist with their special circumstances in recovery of a driver’s license.

“I am motivated to encourage DMVs to become more proactive to assist in the obtaining of identification for victims of trafficking for the very reason I chose to be a law enforcement officer,” said Paul Steier, director of the Bureau of Investigation and Identity Protection for the Iowa Department of Transportation. “That is to help and empower people who have been hurt, bullied, and taken advantage of. The victims of trafficking have been through so many struggles and to take part in creating an atmosphere across our Nation to help them turn their lives around is inspiring, rewarding, and humbling.”

Some victims come from families where they were never given proper identification, and others had their identification papers taken by their trafficker. Because victims may lack proper identification, they may not be able to obtain legitimate employment or qualify for government benefits; they may be prohibited from opening bank accounts, obtaining loans or even gain housing. This may make it impossible for victims to turn their lives around, resulting in the tragedy of a return to their previous lifestyle.

“ID is the key to a better life,” stated Jacobs. “One needs this key to access housing, employment, healthcare, and education. Identification will bring total freedom. Getting out is the easy part; putting your life back together is where we need the support, choices, and options.”

If you suspect trafficking, don’t just tell someone … MAKE THE CALL

When you suspect human trafficking, it’s imperative thatyou call the hotline versus hoping someone else makes the call for you. A professional driver saw a young girl, around 11 years old, being sold for sex by her mother. Instead of calling the authorities, he told the manager of the store, who ended up not calling, because he hadn’t seen it himself.

“We don’t know what happened to that young victim or her mother, and that is devastating,” commented Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director. The National Human Trafficking Hotline – 1-888-3737-888 — and law enforcement want to hear from the person seeing the trafficking … not a third party.

If you suspect trafficking, you have critical information that can help in the recovery of a trafficking victim. Share that information with the authorities. You can remain anonymous, but please call and tell them what you see. A life could truly depend on it. Don’t hesitate, and don’t hope for someone else to make the call … make the call, save lives!

New location and creative art project enriched MATS experience for TAT supporters this year

Thanks to Bridgestone Tires sharing their premier booth space with TAT, the many volunteers from Walmart Transportation/Walmart and Bridgestone Tires helping TAT staff and the compelling ArtWorks for Freedom art project called Golden Door of Freedom for visitors to admire and add to, the TAT staff, exhibit and Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) enjoyed enhanced visibility at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS).

Over 2200 people toured the Freedom Drivers Project, and TAT had the opportunity for hundreds of conversations with companies, owner/operators, industry members and members of the public this year in Louisville.

“We are so grateful to Bridgestone, our volunteers and ArtWorks for Freedom for helping us raise awareness about sex trafficking, and how the trucking industry is helping to combat it,” said Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director. “It was an amazing show!”

Many MATS participants stopped by and picked up TAT materials.

Strong partners and participation help make coalition builds a success

SURVIVOR-LEADER AND TAT FIELD TRAINER BETH JACOBS SPOKE AT EACH COALITION BUILD.

Feedback was positive from the three coalition builds TAT held in April. Two were in Texas, in Houston and Lubbock, and the other, held in Topeka, engaged law enforcement and trucking in Kansas. In total, 176 people attended the builds.

In addition to teaming up with the Office of the Attorney General in both Texas and Kansas to host the builds, TAT worked with the Kansas and Texas state trucking associations, the Voice of Hope and the Texas Department of State Health Services to invite participants and law enforcement presenters. At each venue, participants learned about human trafficking from a state law enforcement official, heard from Coalition Build Specialist Esther Goetsch about the role the trucking industry is playing across the nation to combat these crimes as well as information about the National Human Trafficking Resource Hotline, listened to members of a law enforcement panel, and reviewed several case studies. Beth Jacobs, survivor leader and TAT field trainer, provided training from a survivor’s perspective, including having a victim-centered approach.

Survey results from participants included such comments as:

“There is no doubt trainings like these and the efforts given by so many people who care and can do something about it can make a difference. Thank you so much for all your work!”

“I have been in law enforcement for 20 years, and I am still serving in the military as well. I go to trainings all the time, and it is always the same. This training was new and very helpful and needs to reach more law enforcement.”

“We plan to reach out to truck stops and casinos in our county to distribute this information.  Thank you!”

TEXAS ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MALLORY MYERS AND ESTHER GOETSCH, TAT COALITION BUILD SPECIALIST, BOTH SPOKE AT THE LUBBOCK COALITION BUILD.

“TAT is a great idea. I will be speaking to truck stops in my area to make sure we have active communication to combat human trafficking.”

“Beth told her story which she presented well.  It is so powerful to hear a real story and not learn from books. She needs to continue teaching law enforcement and others the real struggle and what we need to do.”

Goetsch said, “We want people to leave these meetings changed, and these kind of comments show that we’re making an impact. We have also had commitments from trucking stakeholders to use their influence to get this information in front of safety directors on a regular basis as part of their safety compliance meetings. Multiple local DPS officers said they wanted to sign up to be on the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s (NHTRC) local protocol list for human trafficking cases in Lubbock. John Esparza, president and CEO of the Texas Trucking Association said these meetings are so powerful and impactful and that we need to get more people in the trucking industry to attend them.”

Calls by truckers to the National Human Trafficking Hotline continue to result in trafficking cases

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) reports that as of the end of the first quarter 2016 they have received 1,371 substantive calls from truck drivers, reporting a total of 425 cases of potential human trafficking across all types of trafficking and all venues. In these cases, NHTRC staff have identified 744 potential trafficking victims of which 249 are minors.

“We continue to thank everyone in the trucking industry for their vigilance in both recognizing potential human trafficking and then reporting it to the NHTRC,” commented Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “Your efforts are critical in successful bringing an end to modern-day slavery.”

TAT News from the April 2016 Newsletter

Twin Eagle Transport raises $22,631 for TAT

WARREN ASHWORTH, FAR LEFT, TWIN EAGLE TECHNOLOGY ANALYST WHO ORGANIZED THE MAJORITY OF THE FUNDRAISING EVENTS FOR TAT, POSES WITH TAT EMPLOYEES AND FELLOW TWIN EAGLE EMPLOYEES TO SHOW OFF THE AMOUNT OF MONEY RAISED FOR TAT.

As Twin Eagle Transport’s designated first quarter 2016 community partner, TAT has received a check for $22,631, making Twin Eagle a TAT gold sponsor … and almost a platinum level sponsor. Twin Eagle raised the money through raffles, breakfasts, bake sales, a pinewood derby competition and donations from the company for every one of their 400-plus drivers who watched the TAT training DVD and passed the TAT-trained certification test. In addition, Twin Eagle donated hauls of the FDP, including the ones to their events.

On hand to receive the check and take part in celebration festivities at two Twin Eagle locations in Texas were the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP), with Helen Van Dam, FDP director, and Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build specialist.

At Twin Eagle-Kingsbury, Twin Eagle also invited local Kenworth and Peterbilt reps to tour the FDP, learn more of Twin Eagle’s involvement with TAT and eat barbeque prepared by Twin Eagle drivers.

“They were so welcoming and dedicated to our work,” said Van Dam. “It’s because of many of these drivers that Twin Eagle even heard about Truckers Against Trafficking, so they could adopt us as their first quarter charity.” The following day, the FDP visited Twin Eagle’s corporate office in Houston.

“We’re so grateful to everyone at Twin Eagle for their support and hard work that made this check possible,” Van Dam continued.”They not only trained their drivers to be able to make the call to save a life, but gave TAT the capacity to reach more members of the trucking industry and law enforcement with our mission. We hope to see more companies come on board like they have.”

Van Dam gave special recognition to Warren Ashworth, Twin Eagle technology analyst, who was the main organizer for Twin Eagle’s events with TAT.

The FDP created a colorful backdrop for the Twin Eagles logo.

Truckers do make a difference

While we know from the call statistics kept by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) that many calls are made by members of the trucking industry to report suspicious activity that could be human trafficking, it’s always encouraging to read about such a call and know the results of training and what people are thinking. Here’s a recent incident report from one of those calls, along with two quotes from truckers about human trafficking:

James* called the NHTRC hotline one evening after being approached by a teenage girl who was going door to door at a truck stop. The girl told James she was trying to make money to travel back home and asked if there was anything she could do for him. James had recently learned about human trafficking from a Truckers Against Trafficking video he had watched and believed the girl was a potential victim. After leaving his truck door, James saw the girl knock on a few more trucks before walking across the street, where she got into a parked car with a waiting driver. James called the NHTRC and provided a description of the girl, information about his interaction with her and as much information as he had about the vehicle. The NHTRC immediately reported the situation to law enforcement, and an investigation was opened.

*Names, locations and other identifying information have been changed and/or omitted to preserve the confidentiality of the people we serve.

McGriff Tire Company becomes first TAT Dealership Partner

MICHELLE BISHOP, TAT PROGRAMS COORDINATOR, TRAINED THE SALES FORCE TEAM AT MCGRIFF TIRE COMPANY. SHE IS SHOWN HERE WITH BARRY MCGRIFF, COMPANY PRESIDENT.

“This is the right thing to do,” said Barry McGriff, president of McGriff Tire Company. “It’s not going to sell us any more tires, but that’s not what it’s about; it’s about doing the right thing.

That said, McGriff Tire Company became the first company to sign up as a TAT Dealership Partner (TDP), following the training of its sales force team in Guntersville, Alabama, by Michelle Bishop, TAT programs coordinator.

If you’re a trucking industry dealership, TAT is asking you to consider joining McGriff and becoming a TAT Dealership Partner by taking two simple steps:

      • Sponsor TAT financially with a $1000 donation annually for three years.
      • Become a distribution point for TAT wallet cards.

In return, you’ll have your logo listed on our website, be given periodic shout-outs on our Facebook page, which has over 116,000 followers and growing, and provided a TDP decal for your door. All TAT materials are free of charge.

If you’re interested in becoming a TDP, please call 612-888-4828 and let us know or register on our website.

Law enforcement trainings important to closing loopholes to traffickers

In addition to training members of the trucking industry on human trafficking, how to recognize it and what to do about it, TAT spends a considerable amount of time training law enforcementon the topic as well as how to more effectively work with trucking to close loopholes traffickers may be exploiting along our nation’s highways. TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier spoke to approximately 175 members of law enforcement at the National Interdiction Conference (NIC) in Reno, Nevada March 13-18 on how to implement the Iowa MVE model in their states. She also manned a TAT booth to pass out materials and answer questions. She reported that officers from 10 states showed great interest in the model, and a couple of states inquired about law enforcement training for their deputies and officers. TAT is grateful to Douglas Wright and the NIC team for their invitation to speak and for the donated booth space.

TAT’s new Field Trainer Beth Jacobs traveled to North Carolina in March to train 65 North Carolina State Highway Patrol officers. Jacobs reported that she received many comments from the officers that hearing her story as a survivor added a great deal to the training.

TAT News from the March 2016 Newsletter

TAT hires human trafficking survivor/leader as field trainer

BETH JACOBS, TAT FIELD TRAINER

After working with human trafficking survivor/leader Beth Jacobs for the past two years on coalition builds and then reviewing feedback from law enforcement and trucking representatives on the effectiveness and impact of the training she provides, TAT has hired Jacobs as a part-time field trainer, beginning March 1.

In her position, she will be responsible for co-coordinating and conducting law enforcement trainings for TAT, assisting in the preparation, training and completion of coalition-build meetings throughout the nation, and consulting with TAT staff on broader movement issues. Additionally, she will represent TAT at various speaking engagements throughout the year (trucking, government agency, film and webinar), to educate audiences about the realities of domestic sex trafficking.

“I’m excited about working with TAT,” said Jacobs, “because it’s an upstanding agency which values survivors and understands how important we are to the movement. TAT seeks out survivor opinions and consistently asks for survivor input. As a field trainer, some of my responsibilities will include training law enforcement, court personnel, and probation. I look forward to doing this. I hope to change attitudes and clear up myths and stereotypes about victims and survivors. I want to help these populations see victims as people, and as one of themselves. I often think people don’t see us the same as themselves or their own families. If people can think we come from another place, their own families don’t seem to be at risk. I believe dispelling this myth will change the way we address prevention strategies. We are all at risk for our loved ones to be affected. Traffickers do not discriminate. Awareness and prevention efforts are huge parts of the battle to stop Human Trafficking

A survivor of child sex trafficking, Jacobs was trafficked for six years, beginning in her mid- teenage years. After escaping the life, she earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Metropolitan State University, graduating with honors. Her extensive resume includes working with survivors at Breaking Free and Volunteers of America; spearheading the Offenders’ Prostitution Program (John’s School) for the United States Department of Justice in St. Paul, Minnesota, where it has become a bench policy for anyone with a prostitution-related offense; as well as being a writer, workshop and educational presenter, collaborator, survivor curriculum creator, group facilitator and program/training creator. She counts her greatest achievement as moving from survivor to leader in the fight against human trafficking.

In addition to representing prostituted/sex trafficked women and girls on different committees and state collaborative efforts in Minnesota, she worked with the state’s Attorney General Mike Hatch to create The Hoffstead Committee Report, focused on the need for emergency housing for prostituted youth. After moving to Arizona, Jacobs created a non-governmental organization in Tucson, Arizona in 2012 called Willow Way, to help other victims of sex trafficking find their way to freedom and success. She has collaborated with Codac Behavioral Health, Ward 6, Pima county courts and Tucson police to create Project Raise, an alternative-to-jail program offering services to prostituted/sex trafficked people.

She continues to work on public policy issues, trying to educate and encourage people to change outdated, ineffective legislation, while working to enhance and support survivor leadership, empowering others to use their voice. Additionally, Jacobs participated in two legislative briefings in Washington, DC, and on a panel as an expert at New Hampshire School of Law with Cindy McCain in March 2014.  She was recently contracted to be an evaluator for a Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) training to show attorneys how to help trafficking victims vacate their charges according to Arizona’s new human trafficking bill signed into law in April of 2014.

Bridgestone donates their MATS exhibit space to TAT

When Bridgestone decided to forego their annual trip to the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) March 31-April 2 in Louisville, Kentucky, they donated their prime location at this year’s show to TAT, ensuring that more participants at the show would have the opportunity to tour the Freedom Drivers Project and hear about how they can become involved in fighting human trafficking.

“From the moment Bridgestone became one of TAT’s partners, their commitment to the fight against human trafficking has been enormous,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “They’ve connected us with people throughout the trucking industry and offered us multiple presentation venues. This opportunity to use their exhibit space – a space we could have never afforded – is amazing, and we’re so grateful for their ongoing partnership and their dedication to do all they can to raise awareness about human trafficking throughout the industry.”

During MATS 2016, TAT and the FDP will be located in the south wing of the North Pavilion, booth number 34415.

Partnering with TAT at the booth space will be ArtWorks for Freedom, an organization that uses the power of art to raise awareness about modern-day slavery and human trafficking on a global scale. MATS participants are encouraged to come by and take part in a fun, participatory arts project called Golden Doors to Freedom led by ArtWorks contributing artist and master gilder William Adair and photographer Kay Chernush, the founder and creative director of ArtWorks for Freedom. The project turns abandoned doors into freedom portals for communal focus on human trafficking. Using 23k gold leaf, participants will write, stencil, draw, scratch, burnish and embellish the doors with their own expressions on trafficking.

This will be the premier of golden door art project, and the gold leaf to be used has been donated by Sepp Leaf Products in NYC, the world’s leading distributor of precious gold leaf.

“We want people to realize that there is power when a community comes together around a complex issue like human trafficking,” explained Chernush. “Taking an old battered, discarded door and turning it into a beautiful work of art tells us about our own capacity to change perceptions and create empathy in the place of indifference.  It becomes a visual symbol of our commitment to take action to end human trafficking.”

National Interdiction Conference invites TAT to present

Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, will be presenting at the 2016 National Interdiction Conference, billed as “the most popular, most intense, highly attended criminal interdiction conference in the United States.”

The conference, which provides training to law enforcement to influence a pro-active, all crimes approach to criminal interdiction, will be held in Reno, Nevada March 13-17. In addition to providing a 15-minute presentation on March 15, Lanier will be manning a TAT booth, provided by the conference organizers. In her presentation, she will introduce TAT’s Iowa MVE model and communicating to motor vehicle enforcement (MVE) officers and troopers that they’re critical to the fight against human trafficking.

“Interdiction officers are one of the most under-utilized resources in combating human trafficking nationwide,” Lanier stated. “Not only do they see so much in their daily interdiction stops, but if they have a truck stop in their jurisdiction or if they are with MVE or commercial vehicle enforcement (CVE) and are in trucking companies doing mandatory safety compliance meetings or interacting with truck drivers at weigh stations or ports of entry, they could be an integral part of getting this information in the hands of the members of the United States trucking industry.”

Do you sell parts or equipment to the trucking industry?

If so, TAT needs you to join us as a TAT Dealership Partner (TDP). The trucking industry is making a critical difference in the fight against human trafficking. TAT serves as a resource to the industry in that fight. But if the movement is going to continue to spread throughout the United States, TAT has a critical need for distribution points for our materials. Using your resources, both financially and influentially, to spread the word is an effective way to fight this heinous crime and be an everyday hero.

As a trucking industry dealership, TAT is asking you to consider joining this fight and becoming a TAT Dealership Partner by taking two simple steps:

      • Sponsor TAT financially with a $1000 donation annually for three years.
      • Become a TAT distribution point for our wallet cards.

In return, you’ll have your logo listed on our website, be given periodic shout-outs on our Facebook page, which has over 116,000 followers and growing, and provided a TDP decal for your door. All TAT materials are free of charge.

If you’re interested in becoming a TDP, please call 612-888-4828 and let us know or register on ourwebsite.

2015 TAT annual report available online

TAT’s 2015 annual report is available for review on the TAT website. The theme of the report is creating pathways, and shows the many ways TAT and its sponsors have created pathways for the fight against human trafficking to extend farther through the trucking industry.

TAT News from the February 2016 Newsletter

Elisabeth Barna joins TAT Board of Directors

ELISABETH BARNA

“Truckers Against Trafficking is saving lives and making a big difference in communities across the United States. I joined the TAT Board of Directors to be part of the solution in solving human trafficking, said Elisabeth Barna, senior vice president of communications and public affairs/image and outreach advocacy for the American Trucking Associations (ATA). “I have attended a number of meetings among the different modes of transportation, and TAT is definitely the model program.  I am excited to work with such a special organization that is so passionate about their work.”

With ATA, Barna is responsible for the organization’s overall communications and public affairs strategy, including image and outreach advocacy.  She works with the state trucking associations, the ATA membership and key ATA departments to develop initiatives to advance the overall advocacy efforts.  She leads the ATA future leaders program, LEAD ATA, as well as the America’s Road Team, Share the Road, and Trucking Moves America Forward campaigns, and other association image programs and advocacy efforts.

“I’ve been working in the trucking industry for a little over 25 years,” Barna commented. ”TAT’s greatest strength in working with the industry is the ability to educate not only the professional truck drivers, but everyone who works in the industry … TAT’s ability to communicate both the problem and action needed is well done.”

Barna is a recipient of the “J.R. “Bob” Halladay” Award and also serves on the Board of Directors for Trucker Buddy International.  She is the secretary/treasurer for the Trucking Associations Executive Council (TAEC).

DC Department of Motor Vehicles partners with TAT

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced that as part of greater efforts within the District to combat human trafficking, the DC Department of Motor Vehicles is partnering with Truckers Against Trafficking to distribute anti-trafficking materials to residents with a commercial driving license. They will also train all Service Center staff on human trafficking awareness.

The mayor’s announcement came on Jan. 11 as part of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

“Since 2007, there have been 486 reported cases of human trafficking in the District. This is unacceptable,” said Mayor Bowser. “Our city is better than this, and we do not stand for any abuse of human rights. This new partnership builds on the District’s longstanding commitment to combat and prevent this atrocious crime.”

TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris commented, “It’s gratifying to see the District join 19 states around the nation in adopting portions of the IA MVE model. It’s our hope that other government agencies will follow their lead in order to maximize all entry points in getting TAT materials into the hands of professional drivers.”

Twin Eagle Transport develops TAT Trained certified driver program

When Twin Eagle Transport chose TAT as their community partner for the first quarter of 2016, they developed a unique plan for training their 400-plus drivers, located across the nation. For every driver who watches the TAT video and passes a test, which TAT provided, Twin Eagle will provide a certificate to the driver testifying that the driver is TAT Trained and will donate $25 to TAT. Between the certification donations and some breakfast-by-donation events they’ll be holding throughout the quarter, they plan on being a TAT Gold Level Sponsor at quarter’s end.

Along the way, Twin Eagle sends out blast e-mails to its drivers, informing them of the progress, both in terms of drivers trained and money raised. As of Jan.21, Twin Eagles reports328 employees trained and $8,506 raised.

New online training for truck-stop employees and operators launches with human trafficking course

NATSO Foundation has premiered a new online educational tool for members of the truck stop and travel plaza industry. With the initial focus on how truck stops help people, the first of four e-learning modules, launched in January as part of Human Trafficking Awareness month, is titled The Role of Truck Stops in Combating Human Trafficking. The second course — How Truck Stops Help the Homeless — will be available in coming weeks. Additional courses planned for the series on how truck stops help people will focus on what to do for drivers who are suffering distress and how to respond during a natural disaster.

“Truck stop owners, operators and employees often find themselves in a position to help people with more than just their basic needs of food, fuel and rest,” said NATSO Foundation Chairman Jenny Love Meyer. “We’re taking meaningful action to ensure that the truck stop industry is prepared to respond. The truck stop and travel plaza industry takes seriously the fight against human trafficking, and our goal is to provide our members with the tools they need to train their staff, so that those individuals are equipped to help if they encounter a victim of this horrible crime.”

The course is available on the NATSO Foundation’s new learning management system free of charge, so any member of the truck stop and travel plaza industry can leverage these educational resources. The course can be accessed at www.natso.com/onlinelearning.

FDP travels from California to Florida in January

Following appearances in January at TAT’s California coalition build and Rotary’s World Peace Conference 2016 in California, the Freedom Driver’s Project traveled cross country to Florida to take part at Orlando’s eighth annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Jan. 23 at the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola. The drive from Dallas to Orlando was courtesy of Walmart. The invitation to the event came through the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force (GOHTT), in partnership with Florida Abolitionist, in recognition that the trucking industry is playing a critical role in the fight against human trafficking.

Helen Van Dam, FDP director, was the event’s keynote speaker. Tomas Lares, president of GOHTT, said, “Truckers Against Trafficking’s Freedom Driver’s Project was the highlight of this year’s annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Central Florida.”

While a history-making East Coast storm cut down on the number of people attending this year’s event, 344 people still toured the FDP.

New animation explains the Shipping Partners Program

Check out the latest animation on the TAT website. This one explains how shippers can play a part in fighting human trafficking and the steps to join TAT’s Shipping Partners Program. This fast-paced, whiteboard animation was produced through the talent of justice-focused media consultant Alice Paul Group.

TAT News from the January 2016 Newsletter

Happy New Year and stay vigilant in the fight against human trafficking

The Truckers Against Trafficking staff wishes to thank everyone for their hard work in the fight against human trafficking in 2015. Our 2015 annual report will be out later this month. It will highlight many of this past year’s achievements and the pathways created to reach deeper within the trucking industry to bring human trafficking awareness and education to a greater number of people and companies. We also want to remind you that whether you’re on the job, at a convention, sporting event, restaurant or even driving around your city, human trafficking is taking place all around you. It is a crime hidden in plain sight. Stay alert; watch for the signs; and if you suspect you’re seeing it, make the call to 1-888-3737-888. You could be saving a life.

Coalition build part of coordinated effort in California to involve all modes of transportation in fight against human trafficking

In a lead-up to the 2016 Super Bowl on Feb. 7, the California Attorney General’s office, as well as a variety of state coalitions and task forces, have worked for months to educate and train many sectors of the state’s population, including healthcare workers and educators, on how to recognize human trafficking and what to do. TAT’s coalition build, scheduled Jan. 13 in Oakland, for members of law enforcement and trucking/travel plaza stakeholders, will be the morning education event for transportation members in the state. In the afternoon, an area anti-human trafficking task force will hold training for airport workers, transit, taxi and bus personnel in the Oakland area.

“We’re thrilled to be part of the preparation for another Super Bowl, but even more excited to see the Attorney General’s office and the task force committed to training across all modes of transportation in preparation for this year’s Super Bowl,” said Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director. “With all these people trained, traffickers will find it harder to operate, as there won’t be as many loopholes for them to sneak through, and victims will have a better opportunity at rescue.”

Following its part in the coalition build, TAT’s Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) will head to southern California to take part in the Rotary World Peace Conference in Ontario on Jan. 15-16 in the Ontario Convention Center. This event brings together experts with solutions to major issues occurring around the world. Leaders from healthcare, academia, government, public safety, religions, business and communities will meet together to share the solutions presented by experts with hopes to formulate action plans which can be implemented upon their return home.

Greg Owen with Ability TriModal, and also a former president of the California Trucking Association, will sponsor the haul of the FDP to and from the conference.

Esther Goetsch joins TAT as coalition build specialist

With an increasing number of coalition builds to plan, coordinate and execute each year, Truckers Against Trafficking has hired Esther Goetsch, part-time, as coalition build specialist.

Goetsch has a deep interest in the law, a heart for and experience with ministries seeking justice and equality for the oppressed, enslaved and abused and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Wheaton College. She has worked both domestically and internationally and gained strong speaking, organizational and administrative skills as a youth pastor at Tulsa Christian Church and pre-adoption educator for Dillon International. She believes the work TAT does “is a fight that pushes back against evil both here and abroad. In a country founded on laws establishing the right for all people to be free, it is unconscionable that we allow the slavery of humans to continue.” Throughout her life, she has worked to pursue justice for the vulnerable and voiceless.

Coalition builds play a critical role in the development of working relationships between law enforcement at every level in a state and trucking industry stakeholders to close the loopholes human traffickers are currently able to exploit. They have been an instrumental training and preparation tool prior to the last two Super Bowls and will be used by California in preparation for Super Bowl 50. In 2015, TAT trained 375 people, split, on average, 60/40 between law enforcement and trucking industry stakeholders. Already in 2016, there are coalition builds scheduled in California, Kansas and Texas.

TAT’s Facebook page exceeds more than 100,000 followers

One of TAT’s major tools for training, educating, equipping and helping to create a shift in perspectives and understanding of those who are victimized by human trafficking as well as the crime itself is Facebook. In 2015, TAT’s Facebook page reached a milestone of more than 100,000 followers.

These followers include members of the trucking industry, human trafficking survivors, anti-human trafficking folk, the general public, educators, movie stars, politicians, law enforcement and people from many other segments of society.

“TAT’s Facebook is more than a page for updates on events, stories about human trafficking and the sharing of both informational and fun graphics,” stated Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director. “It is a community where admin and participants alike grow and learn. We sharpen each other’s arguments, challenge each other’s long-held beliefs and explore tougher topics. At each stage in our growth, whether it was our first thousand followers, ten thousand, and now one hundred thousand, we celebrate collectively. It has also been exciting and encouraging to see those who have been with us from the beginning training/educating others on our page about the basics of human trafficking. There is definitely a sense of ownership.”

To provide a taste of what folks are saying on our Facebook page, here are comments from a few of our followers:

My dad was a trucker and believed in protecting people while he was on the road. Also, this trafficking situation is so horrible to me, and I find it honorable that something my Dad was a part of for many years has rallied to help these women in need. Good job!! All of us should care more for our neighbors … that would be anyone we come upon. Gwen Alvear

I saw your video when I was in truck-driving school and have been a member ever since. Andy Nelson

Respect is the feeling I have for Truckers Against Trafficking. Thank you for all you do in helping the kids lured into this nightmare. God bless you all and the truckers that keep an eye out for our children! To my friends that see this post, please like this page! Sherry Powell

I am so impressed with what TAT is doing! Thank you for all the great posts about human trafficking in America. I am particularly concerned about our boys and young men who are bought and sold. It’s out there. Thanks for all your help and your bold stand! Just WOW! Steven Fales

I’m poised to be in the industry starting on the 21st and will definitely do my part. Sean Webb

I’ve never heard of this group until now. I am a local garbage truck driver, who often crosses paths with local police taking a quick break at a gas station. I remind them they and I have the same job: we get the trash off the streets. I think more highly of the garbage in my compactor than of the evildoers who traffic fellow human beings. Rob Butler

Human trafficking of any kind or type – no matter what the victim’s age or gender – is totally and completely wrong! Family members and friends of the victim get hurt, too. I’m very glad I recently became a lifetime member of TAT. Now I can add my voice to thousands of others who are against human trafficking. James C. Mason

TAT News from the December 2015 Newsletter

America’s trucking industry center stage at Trust Women Conference

TAT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KENDIS PARIS, SPEAKING AT THE TRUST WOMEN CONFERENCE IN LONDON.  PHOTO CREDIT: THOMAS REUTERS FOUNDATION/DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS

Given ten minutes to present Truckers Against Trafficking and what the trucking industry is doing to fight human trafficking in the United States, Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, shared the story of truck driver Kevin Kimmel and the call he made that rescued a trafficking victim at the 2015 Trust Women Conference in London, England Nov. 18-19.

Paris was invited to speak at this annual global conference after presenting at the World Economic Forum in February in New York City. The Trust Women Conference is committed to finding real solutions to empower women and fight slavery worldwide. At each conference, global leaders, both speakers and delegates, propose innovative solutions to address social challenges. The event brings together corporations, lawyers, government representatives, and pioneers in the field of women’s rights and anti-slavery from countries including Brazil, Australia, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Switzerland, the United States and England.

“Having representatives from multiple countries come up after I presented asking to replicate TAT in their portion of the world speaks volumes to the incredible work the American trucking industry has done in combating sexual slavery,” Paris stated. “It has always been our dream to see the TAT model replicated in other countries and across other modes of transportation, and we will do all we can to assist future partners in making that a reality.”

In the Know

In The Know: A Survivor’s Perspective is a monthly blog series TAT runs on Facebook and its Blog page on the website, where the survivor’s expert voice is heard on a variety of topics surrounding, impacting or contributing to the fight against human trafficking. The following is an excerpt from the blog series.

 

The Diary of Jasmine Grace

Surviving the life of sex trafficking and overcoming drug addiction

Jan 2, 2007…

I cannot believe that it’s another year … another year has gone by, and I’ve tried to get better on my own but I haven’t succeeded. That’s why as I write this, I am laying on white sheets that drape over, on a very smooshie, but small twin-size bed … in a Detox room in Somerville. I’m wearing a super-fly pair of blue scrubs, baggy pants and an oversize shirt. They said I could keep it. Gee, thanks.

So, yes, I admitted myself into Somerville Hospital. I got real tired of not getting anywhere doing the same insane BS day after day!! I can’t believe that I got involved in what eventually became a serious habit. These things took over my life.

I am living at home with my parents, which is sooo much better for me.  I used to get up everyday, do a jam or try to get one. (jam is the street term for oxycontin pills) Sit home. Do nothing or maybe watch TV. Run a few errands. Sleep till 2 p.m. cuz I was up so late from the night before. I mean I just lived terrible. I was getting bad. Nothing mattered to me anymore. I barely paid my bills. I only worked to survive. I lost all of my responsibility, respect and self esteem. I was mixing coke and jams … sometimes doing the coke alone. That was never me! Coke was never even my drug of choice! But I started to mix it, cuz the jams would make me so tired, Ii liked to get that rush of coke, so I’d do a lot, line after line. Then slow down immediately with a jam.

I put myself in a few bad situations, while I was out there getting high. I hung out with some really crazy people. I didn’t care. But now I want to change my life sooo much … like I can’t believe that I was excited to come here. I was calling and calling Danvers Cab and Health, and there was nothing. Then I said to myself,  “F___ it. Let me call Somerville, cuz Katie went there.” I called and bam. The lady said to be there by 5 p.m. I called my mom right away and felt so happy. I got high today, cuz I knew it would be like the last time. F___ it. And I only did it, cuz I worked and made some money. Otherwise I couldn’t have. Plus I wanted to in some sick way. I wanted to really have to suffer when I got here. I wanted to be so sick and so miserable for all the BS I have caused. I’m so mad at myself … very disappointed, and I don’t want to come back here again. I want to get it together and make sense out of life. I don’t want to chase that drug … that addiction. I want to be free of it. Free of it!! I want to be clean and healthy. Clean and happy and sober!!

 I pray that I make it. Please, Chris, be my angel on my shoulder. Please, Renee, make me or help me remember how bad my life has become, and Nonnie Gracie, please help me become the woman I should be. Let me make my mom and dad proud. Let me see our family through sober eyes. I want a good life. I want to be at peace with myself.

I just spoke at the last meeting of the night … and I was sooo shaky inside … but boy, did it feel good to speak. I’ll write again.

In the name of the Lord Jesus and the Divine …

My Divine …

May I get to a place of serenity, and let me feel that there is hope for me ... Amen. <3 Jazz

July 28, 2015

The dictionary defines the word addiction as: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble). To fully understand my story, realize that when I finally broke free from my trafficker, I was filled with shame and guilt. Because I had no means of coping with it, one thing lead to another, and before I knew it oxycontin and cocaine took over my life. As you can see from my diary entriesI never once set out to become a drug addict or a prostitute. I feel confident to saythat NO ONE does.

Something was done to me (the victim) by means of another person (my trafficker).  For some people, it is an abusive childhood, domestic violence, acute or complex trauma and so on. What I want to stress to you is that the guilt and shame a woman feels is what will keep her silent and/or resistant to get help or change.

Let me explain. When my trafficker met me, he used my vulnerabilities to exploit me. This made me feel weak and useless. I felt like I could not do or be anything without him. At the time, I wasn’t aware of that fact. Therefore, I internalized the abuse and blamed myself, which made me feel guilt. I felt ashamed the very first time I exchanged my body with a stranger. The memory is still burned in my brain. I blamed myself for getting into the relationship with my trafficker and for staying so long. During the five years, I tried very hard to please him and to earn his love. Learning to trust again has taken great courage.

My mind, body, and soul were damaged from my trafficking situation. I thought the only way to financially support myself (and my drug addiction) was to return to prostitution. I tried making minimum wage, but it wasn’t paying my bills or supporting my drug addiction. I made myself feel better about what I was doing by considering myself a high-priced escort. As I look back, I see the truth in my own words. In all the diary entries that I reflect upon, I can clearly see how I was feeling at that specific time in my life — how hopeless and depressed I really was. I wanted to suffer and be punished for all the havoc I caused in my life. But the reality is that I was a victim of sex trafficking. I just didn’t know it. I was carrying guilt and shame that did not belong to me.

Today, I am grateful for recovery, as I have finally been freed from it all: Prostitution, addiction, shame, guilt.

Those things no longer control or define me.

For I am called by a new name. one that has been given to me by my Creator:

Chosen.

Redeemed.

Forgiven.

Beloved.

Child of God.

©Copyright 2015. JasmineGrace. All rights reserved.

Excerpt taken from JasmineGrace.org blog post.

 Freedom Drivers Project heads south to Georgia and Florida

The Georgia Motor Trucking Association provided premier booth space for the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) and presentation time at the opening of the event for Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, at their Fleet Expo, Nov. 9-11 in Atlanta, Georgia.

“The contacts we made, and conversations we had were incredible,” said Lanier. “We very much appreciate the passionate desire of the members of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association and the other people we met to combat human trafficking and do their part in the fight. Thank you for your partnership GMTA! And thanks to Mile High Transportation for driving the FDP from Colorado to Atlanta.”

JOEY ROBLES, A VOLUNTEER FOR GREATER ORLANDO HUMAN TRAFFICKING TASK FORCE (GOHTTF), RACHEL RINGLE OF CARROLL FULMER, AND TOMAS LARES, FOUNDER OF GOHTTF, TOURED THE FDP AT THE CARROLL FULMER EVENT.

From there, the FDP headed down to Groveland, Florida to spend Nov. 13 with Carroll Fulmer Logistics Corporation for their 2015 Driver/Employee Appreciation Week. The record-breaking heat also meant a fantastic day for TAT with great crowds of drivers, staff and local businesses touring the FDP to learn how they could make a difference in their community in the fight against human trafficking.

“We enjoyed delicious BBQ that some of the drivers had been smoking since the night before,” commented Helen Van Dam, FDP director. “Special thanks to Rachel Pringle and Julie Hall for coordinating the details of our work with Carroll Fulmer and to Earl Stahl, who won Carroll Fulmer’s Driver of the Year award and drove the FDP from Atlanta to Florida and back to Colorado.”

The FDP has been invited back to Florida in January for the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Jan. 23 at Lake Eola in Orlando.

Remember TAT in your year-end giving

While trucking indisputably moves America forward, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), working with the trucking industry and law enforcement, is moving the fight against human trafficking forward in unprecedented ways.  Phone calls from trucking industry members to the National Human Trafficking Hotline and local law enforcement continue to rise, having resulted in more than 400 potential human trafficking cases since TAT began in 2009, involving more than 692 victims, 234 of which are minors. Ohio became the first state in the country to make TAT training a required part of its state curriculum for CDL licensing. Many shippers, which hire trucking firms to move their products from point A to point B, are either altering their request for proposal forms to include a preference for TAT-trained drivers or are seriously considering it. TAT now partners with all but four of the nation’s state trucking associations, and the number of companies registering their employees as TAT Trained continues to rise. This year, the U. S. Congress recognized TAT for its work with the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness; a TAT coalition build in Arizona helped prepare law enforcement and trucking in the state for the 2015 Super Bowl; TAT held its first quad-state coalition build in the center of the country; and the trucking industry is being hailed in the press as a critical partner for law enforcement in recognizing this crime when it’s happening and making the calls that can result in saved lives.

When you give to TAT, you’re supporting an organization with a proven track record for action, and one whose work in partnership with trucking and law enforcement is becoming a formidable force when it comes to rooting out and stopping modern-day slavery.

TAT News from the November 2015 Newsletter

Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officers and TAT hold first-ever, quad-state coalition build

Iowa’s Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officers (MVE) and Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) held a first-ever, quad-state coalition build between key members of law enforcement at every level and management from the trucking/travel plaza industry in the states of Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota on Oct. 27 in Sioux City, Iowa.

Iowa MVE Chief Dave Lorenzen and his department have been working with TAT since 2013. Chief Lorenzen, a TAT board member since 2014, and his department members developed a training model with TAT materials for commercial vehicle enforcement or motor vehicle enforcement officers to use in any state. Called the Iowa MVE model, it is now in partial or full use in 19 states across the country.

“The activities associated with human trafficking are not restricted within the borders of any one state,” said Lorenzen. “There are highly traveled corridors that flow between the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. Taking a few hours to get law enforcement, the trucking industry, prosecutors, victim service providers, truck stop managers and Truckers against Trafficking (TAT) together is valuable in efforts to battle the horrible acts associated with this crime.”    .

Coalition builds provide human trafficking training, some of it from a human trafficking survivor; connect trucking industry members and law enforcement with local resources in their area to combat human trafficking; provide networking opportunities and honest dialogue between law enforcement and the trucking industry to close loopholes to traffickers; and provide a fuller understanding of what human trafficking looks like in the area, along with the challenges that exist in investigating and prosecuting theses cases, and the need for trucking and LE to work together.

“TAT’s coalition builds continue to prove their worth, as we are seeing entire police departments become trained, carriers and new truck stop chains sign on as TAT partners, and law enforcement and industry stakeholders working together on undercover operations,” stated Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “So, when Chief Lorenzen approached me with the idea of having a quad-state coalition build meeting in Sioux City to bring together key law enforcement and industry leaders, I jumped at the idea. Imagine all state patrol officers, local truck stops, carriers and police jurisdictions in these four states trained and equipped around this topic? We want to close loopholes to traffickers exploiting both victims and legitimate businesses, and these meetings are a significant step in that direction.”

United States Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota invites Freedom Drivers Project to state event

Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, and the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) joined Marlin Kling from the North Dakota Motor Carriers Association and Nate McCarty of America’s Road Team on stage at a press conference and event held by U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota in Bismark on Oct. 24. Sen. Heitkamp held the event to raise awareness about human trafficking and issue a call to action to truckers in the state to join the fight against it.

A big proponent of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, which became law earlier this year, Heitkamp has been actively supporting efforts to end human trafficking in her state. She had been told about TAT and the FDP earlier this year, and was so impressed, she requested TAT’s presence for her Bismark event. Also on stage at the event were Chief Dan Donlin of the Bismark Police Department and Christina Sanborn from FUSE (A Force to End Human Sexual Exploitation), the North Dakota statewide anti-trafficking coalition.

“It was an honor to be part of this event,” said Lanier. “We’d like to thank Apex Transportation for hauling the FDP out to Bismarck from Denver as a donation to TAT. Nick, the driver, was amazing. And a big thank you to the Bismarck Police Department for hosting the event and to all of the participants. This is a societal issue, and it needs a societal response.”

After touring the FDP, Windie Lazenko, a human trafficking survivor and founder of 4Her, a ministry providing services to sex trafficking victims, stated, “Thank you, thank you from a survivor for this exhibit. I was so moved on so many levels by the truck and the words and the artifacts. I’m just in awe, and I’m not saying that lightly.”

Chief Donlin Bismark PD, Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, Senator Heitkamp, Christine Sanborn, FUSE, Marlin Kling, NDMCA, and Nate McCarty, America’s Road Team Captain/ATA

 Freedom Drivers Project visits its first state fair

The Mississippi Trucking Association and the Mississippi Department of Transportation brought the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) to its first state fair in October in Jackson, Mississippi. Both organizations also volunteered at the FDP, helping to raise awareness among fair goers about human trafficking.

“They worked with the state fair to get a space donated for the FDP,” commented Helen Van Dam, FDP director, “and John Stomps, owner of Total Transportation of Mississippi, a TAT silver level sponsor, donated the haul down to Mississippi. We can’t do these things without the support of our partners, and we are grateful for the incredible welcome and gracious hospitality of our Mississippi partners.”

Kristen Davis, one of the people who toured the FDP, made the comment, “I didn’t know truck drivers were so involved in combating human trafficking. It is cool.”

Michelle Bishop joins TAT staff

MICHELLE BISHOP, TAT PROGRAMS COORDINATOR

Michelle Bishop, who has both domestic and international experience with two other organizations fighting human trafficking and injustice, joined Truckers Against Trafficking staff as program coordinator on Oct. 1.

In addition to her International MBA from the University of Denver, Bishop has developed skills, experience and a passion to fight human trafficking through serving a year-long business development fellowship in Mumbai, India with International Justice Mission and working with Colorado-based iEmpathize as a social media coordinator and helping with special projects. Her earlier work at Re/Max as a technology trainer and regional administrator have also contributed to her strong communication, public speaking, technology and administrative skills.

“My first month with TAT has been great,” she said. “I have felt so welcomed by the TAT team as well as the whole TAT community.  I’ve been able to see how members of the trucking industry are answering the call to be everyday heroes and are rising up to save lives. I’m excited to continue TAT’s work of raising awareness within the trucking industry, training drivers on what to look for when they’re out on the road, and meeting these amazing men and women who not only work diligently to safely deliver products across the nation, but also are making the call and helping to rescue victims of human trafficking.”

 Justice Run participants raise money for TAT

BEFORE THE RUN, THE TAT TEAM SPORTED THEIR BEST “EVERYDAY HEROES” POSE.

A team of 16 people raised over $2,900 for Truckers Against Trafficking in the Justice Run in Hudson Gardens, Littleton, Colorado on Oct. 4.

The Justice Run, in its sixth year, drew more than 1100 walkers/runners, plus spectators, who raised more than $44,000 for anti-trafficking organizations through their personal fundraising efforts. Helen Van Dam, FDP director, and Molly Wolff, TAT board member, were two of the runners on the TAT team, while Laura Cyrus, TAT administrative specialist, manned the Freedom Drivers Project.

“The 5K and 10K routes were along the Platte River Trail,” Van Dam related. “We had beautiful weather; it was great to be surrounded by other abolitionists and to see such a strong showing of runners and walkers, especially those who ran for TAT. It was a fun run, with people encouraging you along the way, and, for me, it was a personal feat, as it was the first time I’ve run a 10k by myself.”

L TO R, RUNNERS ANNE GAMBLE, JOHN STEWART, AND HELEN VAN DAM HAD FUN OUTSIDE THE FDP PRIOR TO THE RACE

 TAT Facebook followers surpass 90,000 mark

Facebook followers of the TAT page surpassed the 90,000 mark in October, and TAT takes this opportunity to thank the many truckers against trafficking across the country who are alert to the signs of human trafficking and making the calls that are saving lives. Thank you for your efforts; thank you for your support; thank you for spreading the word and growing this movement, both within the trucking industry and in your personal circles of influence. We are thankful for you.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, we asked our FB followers some of the things they were thankful for, and here are a few of their answers:

The way God loves me and values me

My family

Thankful for all that have served and sacrificed for our freedom

Truck drivers, cuz without y’all, we’d have nothing.

My supportive wife while I attempt to make a living in this crazy-assed industry

Making it home safely

Jesus Christ and the fantastic trucking company we lease to

My faith and my husband, who has been a trucker for 32 years

Thankful for so many people with big, generous hearts helping other human beings … a lot of people are wonderful souls

My boys

Life

God’s grace

The professional drivers that work for my company … they are outstanding!

TAT News from the October 2015 Newsletter

Ohio becomes first state in union to implement mandatory TAT training for CDL

Capt. Mike Crispen of the Licensing and Commercial Standards of the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) wants to maximize what he believes is a key component in the fight against human trafficking.

“Law enforcement officers all over the United States are working diligently to combat human trafficking,” he said. “It’s a mobile crime, and it requires a mobile response. The transportation community is the sole resource for mobile communication. The TAT message, with the help of the trucking and transportation industry, provides law enforcement with the single greatest weapon to eliminate the overwhelming control these criminals have over their victims.  In Ohio, the transportation community is providing an educational program to its drivers and customers and placing the TAT message on their vehicles and windows. So, the message is being ‘driven’ all over the state.”

To enhance that message — and because OSHP believes it’s vital for drivers to be able to explain the nature of trafficking, since they’re the ones driving the message all over the state — beginning January 2016, every driver issued a CDL in Ohio will be given a TAT wallet card, and all new CDL drivers will be provided a one-hour training program.

In September, Crispen completed a train-the-trainer program with CDL instructors from around the state, using a PowerPoint with notes, supplied by TAT and modified by OSHP for their state.

Crispen commented, “It’s important drivers understand the signs, so they can call when they witness trafficking.  It’s also important to educate them on the issue, because my experience has shown that they take the issue serious. Most of the drivers have children of their own.  Once they’re made aware of the issue, they tend to become warriors of the cause, spreading the word faster than anything we could ever hope to do in government. It’s for this reason, the Ohio State Highway Patrol views the CDL drivers as its partners in this effort to combat human trafficking — without them, this problem will only get worse.  With them, we will make Ohio a bad place to do this kind of business – if you’re active in mobile crime, you are actively being watched.

While authority over CDL licensing varies from state to state, Crispen explained that in his state, both the OSHP and the rules for CDL schools under the Ohio Revised Code come under the authority of the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS). ODPS annually revises topics to be taught and makes any adjustments necessary for CDL licensing. Crispen and others from OSHP met with the Office of Criminal Justice Services, Driver Training Section. They provided ODPS with the TAT training CD and asked if they would be willing to join OSHP by adding a topic to the curriculum. They agreed to do so.

“The notice of the addition of TAT training, including a copy of the TAT training DVD, went out with the notice of annual training which ODPS sends,” Crispen shared. “Some trainers and schools took advantage to start showing the TAT video in addition to current required topics. I think most will start adding some form of it between now and January.”

In Michigan, while full TAT training hasn’t yet been implemented for CDL licensing, Capt. Mike Krumm of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division of the Michigan State Police has been responsible for having the information from the TAT wallet card added to the CDL drivers training handbook given to all CDL applicants.

“It is our desire to see all states add TAT training as a mandatory part of the curriculum for CDL licensing,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “As Capt. Crispen mentioned, with training, drivers are vital partners to state patrol officers in the fight against human trafficking.”

TAT honors drivers during Driver Appreciation Week

Truckers Against Trafficking used its Facebook page to honor drivers during Driver Appreciation Week, Sept. 13-19. There were daily driver-exclusive contests and giveaways, as well as pro-trucker graphics and posts. The giveaways included TAT t-shirts, hats and a Blue Tiger Bluetooth headset donated by Elite Headset.

“Working within the industry has deepened our appreciation for the job that truck drivers do each and every day,” stated Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director. “The sacrifices they and their families make to keep America moving are inspirational, and knowing that so many of them are committed to the fight against human trafficking as well is powerful! We appreciate the professional truck driver each and every day, but getting the opportunity to participate in a national thank you was just fun. We hope the drivers of America had a wonderful week and felt the gratitude from all of us!”

Speedco to promote TAT on regular video loop and by distributing wallet cards

Speedco, a Bridgestone company and national network of stores specializing in quick lubes and tires services for the trucking industry, will begin highlighting Truckers Against Trafficking on four slides of their regular video loop at all Speedco location monitors in the United States. They will also make TAT wallet cards available at all their registers, so customers can pick up a wallet card through them throughout the United States. Gary Clark, director of corporate accounts for Bridgestone Commercial Solutions and a TAT board member, was instrumental in bringing about these Speedco actions.

Johns Manville secures presentation time for TAT at Berkshire Hathaway

Johns Manville, a global manufacturer and shipper of commercial and home building products, as well as a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, has taken a number of steps to begin working with TAT in the fight against human trafficking. They invited the Freedom Drivers Project to their research facility for a training day in August, then became a silver-level TAT sponsor and a TAT shipping partner.

As a shipping partner, they have changed the language on their supply chain and shipping agreements with their suppliers to both raise the question of and create the expectation of TAT training to be implemented with each of their carriers. Johns Manville employees David Fisher, director of global logistics, and Mike Benedict, vice president of global supply chain, went a step further and secured Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, 15 minutes of presentation time in front of the transportation and logistics leaders of other Berkshire Hathaway companies at a recent meeting. Fisher, Benedict and Paris challenged everyone in the room to take immediate action and become TAT shipping partners.

“Johns Manville is sponsoring Truckers Against Trafficking because we support sustainable efforts that protect the dignity and safety of all people,” said Fisher. “We believe in this and we expect our suppliers to believe in it too. That is why we have inserted language to this effect in our agreements with our suppliers. Even though it is voluntary to participate, we consider the mission to be a mandate.”

Google Conference focuses on fighting child sex trafficking

CINDY MCCAIN AND KENDIS PARIS, TAT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AT THE GOOGLE REGIONAL CONFERENCE

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, was back in Cincinnati a few days after the Berkshire Hathaway conference to participate in a Google regional conference to combat child sex trafficking. The conference, held at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC), featured key leaders in the abolitionist movement, including Dr. Clarence Newsome, NURFC president, and Cindy McCain, a strong advocate in the fight against human trafficking through her work with the McCain Institute for Leadership and the work on this issue she has accomplished in Arizona. Paris was part of a panel describing the public-private partnerships TAT has forged within the trucking industry, as well as with law enforcement.

“It was a remarkable thing,” Paris said, “to participate in an abolitionist conference within such hallowed walls. Seeing the remnants of ‘traditional’ slavery, and reading an original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, inspired and motivated me to keep fighting this fight alongside the amazing and hard-working abolitionists of the American trucking industry, because there are still hundreds of thousands of victims who desperately need us and are being deprived of their basic, God-given right … freedom.”

KENDIS PARIS, TAT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TAKES PART IN A PANEL DISCUSSION AT THE GOOGLE REGIONAL CONFERENCE IN OHIO

State trucking associations and trucking conference helps spread TAT message

In September, TAT staff also spoke at the North Carolina Safety and Human Resources/Tech and Maintenance Annual Conference, at the annual conferences for both the Tennessee and Washington State Trucking Associations and at the Arkansas Trucking Seminar. In Tennessee, Tennessee Trucking Association President Dave Huneryager encouraged Road Team Captains to begin including TAT materials in their presentations around the state. Texas Assistant Attorney General and special prosecutor for human trafficking Kirsta Melton spoke to the Texas Trucking Association’s Safety Management Council on human trafficking and included information on TAT training as immediate action steps members could take with their companies to fight human trafficking. TAT also had a presence at the WIT Accelerate Conference in Dallas and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Conference in San Diego, California.

TAT News from the September 2015 Newsletter

TAT responds to new Amnesty International policy on prostitution

by Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director

On August 11 of this year, Amnesty International voted to adopt a policy that urges nations to decriminalize the sex industry…essentially supporting the legalization of prostitution. Harm reduction is the greatest rationale they use to justify their policy. The thinking is that if all aspects of prostitution were decriminalized, there would be more monitoring; stigma would be removed; healthcare provided; protections built in; and life would be good and fair to those prostituted. But that thinking and policy have not proven true in the countries that have adopted this policy.

 Harm reduction is like providing a glass of milk to settle the stomach from the slow acting poison being drunk. The poison will continue to do its damage … destroying the person from the inside out … even though some of the symptoms will be mitigated in the short term. That is not good enough. In the end, you still have a poisoned, ailing — if not already dead — human being.

You cannot reduce the harm in something that is inherently harmful. Prostitution is inherently harmful to the prostituted person. Violence is inherent in the system. This, Amnesty International, is not disputing. They just think they can lessen it by legalizing it. This is where they are wrong.

Truckers Against Trafficking stands firmly against Amnesty International’s proposed policy. We, along with over 600 survivors of prostitution and sex trafficking, the majority of the world’s anti-trafficking organizations and some activist celebrities signed an open letter to Amnesty International drafted by the Coalition Against Women In Trafficking (CATW International) stating our firm objections. You can read the full letter and view the signees here: http://catwinternational.org/Content/Images/Article/621/attachment.pdf

Further, The Washington Post states some of our core objections, “Decriminalizing prostitution entirely might give some of these women (in prostitution) a way out. More often, it would allow pimps to operate with impunity, using the money and status that comes with their newfound legitimacy to scale up trafficking operations that hurt the most vulnerable — the young, the very poor and especially the undocumented. The evidence seems to bear that out in Germany and the Netherlands, where trafficking has increased dramatically since the decriminalization of the sex industry in the early 2000s.”

Decriminalizing the prostituted person and offering her help is a good policy, but decriminalizing the buyers, pimps and brothel owners simply makes no sense. They are the players who allow sex trafficking to flourish, and giving them free reign will only subject more vulnerable people groups to exploitation and slavery.

TAT travels extensively in August to educate, equip, empower and mobilize

West Virginia coalition build

TAT co-hosted a coalition build with the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office on Aug. 4, with a full house of law enforcement and trucking industry members collaborating about closing loopholes to traffickers in their area. “Having just received a tip originating from a truck stop in Charleston, WV, our coalition build on Aug. 4 was a timely event,” stated Kendis Paris, TAT executive director.” It was great to see the operators of that truck stop respond positively to the TAT message and become equipped and empowered to combat human trafficking in their own right.”

Idaho Trucking Association conference

Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, traveled to McCall, Idaho in early August to present the TAT message at the annual conference of the Idaho Trucking Association. Around 80 people were present at the morning meeting, and many company representatives took TAT materials so they could train their drivers. “We appreciate the ITA’s commitment to present the educational component of TAT to their member companies,” said Lanier.

Council of State Governments West annual meeting

THE FDP HAD A BEAUTIFUL BACKDROP AT THE COUNCIL OF STATE GOVERNMENTS WEST MEETING.

At the invitation of Colorado State Senator Nancy Todd, three TAT staffers, Kendis Paris, Helen Van Dam and Laura Cyrus, joined the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) at the Vail, Colorado annual meeting of the 13-Western state Council of State Governments in late July. “Our thanks to Senator Todd for inviting TAT out to the 4 Eagle Ranch as part of the CSG West Annual Meeting. It was by far the prettiest place the FDP has ever been parked,” stated Paris, TAT executive director. “We had a great time guiding Western-state legislators through the FDP and then speaking with them about the administrative changes they can make on behalf of TAT and our state-based initiatives. We were also extremely heartened by all the recent legislation many of the attendees had put forward themselves on behalf of the movement, and look forward to working with a great number of them to get the word out to more members of the trucking industry. And as always, our thanks to CAST, who hauls the FDP pro bono all over Colorado, and to our driver last night, Larry. He was a good sport who not only mixed it up with the legislators, but also worked very hard to get the FDP in and out of the back cattle gates unscathed!

Johns Manville transportation team

Johns Manville showed its support for TAT by inviting TAT and the Freedom Drivers Project to present to their transportation team on Aug. 10. Laura Cyrus, TAT administrative specialist, presented a training to the transportation team and Helen Van Dam, FDP director, welcomed the team and other employees to tour the FDP, as they braved a torrential Colorado downpour. “We are excited to see our collaboration with Johns Manville grow in the coming months, commented Van Dam. “Many thanks to David Fisher and Alyece Urice for all their help in arranging the event. Thank you to Johns Manville for joining us in this important work and helping us to spread our message.”

Mississippi Safety Management Council

Helen Van Dam, director of the Freedom Drivers Project, spoke to members of the Mississippi Trucking Association Safety Council about the vital role they have to play in combating domestic sex trafficking Aug. 20. “The MTA has been such a great partner in this,” Van Dam said, “working to create space for us to speak at their annual conference, inviting me to speak to their safety council, pushing our work to their member companies and working with the DOT to bring the Freedom Drivers Project to the Mississippi State Fair in October! I had a fantastic time with the MTA; they really showed me southern hospitality during my time in Jackson. My special thanks to Hal Miller, Steve Boudreaux and Tracy Patrick for their passion to combat this heinous crime and for making that meeting possible.”

Wisconsin Serving Victims of Crime Conference

Lyn Thompson, TAT communications specialist, spoke to an overflow crowd of about 70 people at the Wisconsin Serving Victims of Crime conference in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. The conference drew a mixture of professionals from corrections/probation/parole, education, judicial, law enforcement, the medical field, non-profit organizations, prosecution and social services. “There was great interest in TAT and all the trucking industry is doing to fight the crime of human trafficking,” Thompson said.

Michigan Trucking Association

Captain Mike Krumm of the Michigan State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division and Lyn Thompson, TAT communications specialist, co-presented at the Michigan Trucking Association annual conference in Traverse City, MI on Aug. 29. There was great interaction and discussion with attendees and many who went directly to the TAT website to register themselves as TAT Trained and then promised to take the information back to train their drivers. Michigan is one of the states which has adopted the Iowa MVE Model fully and state police and trucking are having great interaction in the fight against human trafficking.

FROM L TO R: WYATT SWEENEY, MRPR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, AND JIM SHARKEY, PRESSURE SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR, SPEAK WITH CAPT. MIKE KRUMM OF THE MICHIGAN STATE POLICE FOLLOWING HIS PRESENTATION TO THE MICHIGAN TRUCKING ASSOCIATION.

GATS

KENDIS PARIS, TAT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TALKED WITH FOLKS AFTER THEY EXITED THE FDP.

“Whether it was hearing firsthand stories from truck drivers about calls they’ve made that led to victims being recovered, or new partnerships we formed, or our outstanding TAT board meeting and strategy session taking place in person, or the hundreds of truck drivers we met, laughed and cried with as we handed out materials, or the 1278 people who toured the Freedom Drivers Project, GATS 2015 reminded us of why TAT exists in the first place,” stated Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “Our special thanks to Jim White, Jerry Stone, and Steve from Bridgestone, who helped us work our booth on both Friday and Saturday. You guys were incredible! Thanks to Tony Justice who was the opening act at the Friday night concert; you rocked the place, and we greatly appreciated your shout-out and, of course, the ongoing support you give TAT. To the folks at the Great American Truck Show for the ‘comped’ carpet, reduced rate for the FDP and all-around hospitable staff, thank you! And to all you amazing Truckers Against Trafficking out there, keep making those calls; you ARE making a difference!”

L TO R: THE BRIDGESTONE VOLUNTEER TEAM AT GATS, STEVEN MANZONELLI, JIM WHITE AND JERRY STONE WERE A BIG HELP!

Visit TAT at the WIT Accelerate Conference

Stop by and visit TAT at our booth at Women in Trucking’s inaugural Accelerate!Conference & Expo Sept. 20-22 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX. The conference will cover critical transportation issues and trends, along with perspectives of the positive impact women can have on the industry. Anyone who believes the gender balance should be changed in the industry should attend.

New TAT T-Shirt

Show your support for TAT by purchasing the new “I’m Proud to Be a TAT” T-shirt, available through ouron-line store.

TAT News from the August 2015 Newsletter

TAT AND THE FDP ON THE MOVE IN JULY

Staff from Truckers Against Trafficking and the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) criss-crossed the country during July. Highlights from major events attended included:

AT THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FREEDOM CENTER, “FREDERICK DOUGLAS” JOINED TAT STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS IN FRONT OF THE FDP.

Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, OH

“A big thanks to Walmart for donating the thousands of dollars it cost to get the FDP to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on July 4-5,” said Helen Van Dam, FDP director. “We had a fantastic weekend talking with people from all over the area and that would not have been possible without them or their driver Jason, who was a star volunteer in the hot Cincinnati sun. His hard work, positive attitude and passion for the issue couldn’t help but engage and inspire those around him.”

Red Classic, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated and McMahon Truck Centers, Charlotte, NC

“We had a great time in North Carolina on July 8-9 meeting with the wonderful people of Red Classic, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated and McMahon Truck Centers,” volunteered Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director. “Some 132 people toured the Freedom Drivers Project, and we know drivers will receive TAT training and continue to learn more about human trafficking and how they can combat it as a result. We’re grateful to these three companies for sponsoring this trip out to Charlotte and for being awesome hosts!”

Trucking Association Executives Council, West Palm Beach, FL

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, presented to the majority of the state trucking association executives in West Palm Beach, Florida, giving them a broader picture of the anti-trafficking movement, the political will rallying behind it and the ways the trucking industry is working in partnership with TAT. She also covered tangible ways to make that partnership even more effective. As a result of this invitation from Ed Crowell and the Georgia Motor Trucking Association to present, TAT secured new partners and strengthened existing relationships.

“State trucking associations have been invaluable partners in the fight to combat human trafficking,” Paris stated. “As a result of these executives’ efforts, the TAT message has spread across the nation much more efficiently and effectively than TAT staff could have done working on its own. It was an honor to gain new partners at this meeting, but also to thank our existing ones for their outstanding work, and we are so grateful for this opportunity.”

American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, Hershey, PA

TAT presented to motor vehicle administrators and DOT personnel at the AAMVA Region I conference in Hershey, PA. TAT’s Iowa MVE model was presented with a special emphasis on how DMV and DOT officials could contribute to the effort to combat trafficking by including TAT wallet cards with CDL issuance and renewal as well as influencing curriculum of trucking schools in their states to include TAT training.

OKC coalition build, Oklahoma City, OK

DARRELL WEAVER, DIRECTOR OF THE OKLAHOMA BUREAU OF NARCOTICS AND DANGEROUS DRUGS., SPOKE AT THE OKLAHOMA COALITION BUILD.

More than 80 representatives from the trucking and travel plaza industry and Oklahoma law enforcement gathered in Oklahoma City on July 23 for a coalition build, hosted by Truckers Against Trafficking, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and the Oklahoma Trucking Association. In addition to the training provided, discussion centered on such topics as the importance of good surveillance cameras and video footage at travel plazas, the financial implications for truckers and their companies if they’re caught either purchasing or selling people for sex, the critical role detailed information has in ensuring police respond quickly to calls made reporting suspicious activity and the need for trucking and law enforcement to work together to fight human trafficking and use a victim-centered approach.

BLOGS YOU’LL WANT TO CHECK OUT

TAT runs a number of blogs to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the crime of human trafficking as well as the issues and perspectives of those who have survived it and the viewpoints of truckers who fight it. These blogs appear in part on our Facebook page and in full on our website, www.truckersagainsttrafficking.com. These blogs are:

In The Know: A Survivor’s Perspective is a monthly blog series where the survivor’s expert voice is heard on a variety of topics surrounding, impacting or contributing to human trafficking.

Trucker to Trucker is a quarterly blog series where truck drivers talk about issues they face on the road surrounding human trafficking and the commercial sex industry and often times urging their fellow drivers to learn more, get more involved and to ultimately make the call when they suspect trafficking.

Getting to the Root is a quarterly blog series that examines broader, foundational topics that lead to people’s susceptibility to both international and domestic labor and sex trafficking and also provides examples of groups working to address those issues.

Going the Extra Mile is a bi-monthly blog series dedicated to highlighting those individuals and companies who go above and beyond in their support of the TAT mission. To all the TAT Champions out there, we are grateful!

TAT Book Review is a quarterly blog series that shares a book with our followers to help them deepen their understanding of human trafficking and the surrounding issues through the review of resource and research books, memoirs, and novels.

SALUTE TO BILL BRADY – HE GOES THE EXTRA MILE

William Brady is an owner/operator with Lodestar Transportation who supports TAT by keeping his eyes open to spot human trafficking and call it in. He goes the extra mile by not only pulling the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) to different events around the country but also staying at the event, setting up and then working alongside TAT staff to raise awareness about human trafficking to both members of the trucking industry and the general public. He also accepted the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for TAT at the Congressional Award Assembly in 2015.

“Bill has made a personal sacrifice to work with TAT by turning down higher paying loads in order to bring the FDP to different events,” stated Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director. “TAT appreciates Bill. He makes us laugh, lessens our work load, and is an extra team member at events. Thank you, Bill Brady, for rocking it each and every time you work with us. Thanks for being a great friend and partner in this fight!”

TAT: Hi Bill, let’s start out by letting our readers get to know you a little better. What’s your favorite food?

Bill: Steak and Pasta

TAT: Hobbies?

Bill: Keeping truck clean, listening to music, and, most of all, working with TAT.

TAT: What’s your favorite music and sports team?

Bill: Country, rock, Christian and the New England Patriots!

TAT: Did you know anything about human trafficking before TAT?

Bill: No, when I first became a part of TAT, it was all new to me.

TAT: You were asked to accept the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness on behalf of Truckers Against Trafficking in April of this year. What was that experience like?

Bill: The experience is kind of breath taking, due to the fact that I started driving 18 years ago following in my dad’s footsteps … not knowing what was in store for me. Then two and a half years ago I was asked to talk to a high school class about human trafficking. This was the door God had opened for me. I’m still in awe of this awesome experience.

TAT: Why do you think the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award is important for trucking?

Bill: This award is important to our industry as a positive influence and positive motivation that can give the public a better outlook of the industry.

TAT: What is your favorite memory of that couple of days in D.C.?

Bill: It’s hard to choose, because the whole experience is a blessing. Being asked to be a part of TAT is an honor and a blessing. 

TAT: Why do you feel it is important to support or promote TAT?

Bill:  The young people in these positions need our help. They are our future!

TAT: Last question….how would you complete this sentence? I want to live in a world where…

Bill: I want to live in a world where kids aren’t being damaged by people who are making profit from their innocence.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Aug 4 – West Virginia Coalition Build, Charleston, WV, Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, presenting

Aug. 6 – Idaho Trucking Annual Conference, McCall, ID,  Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, presenting

Aug. 18 – Front Range Anti-Trafficking Coalition, Denver, CO, Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, presenting

Aug. 20 – Mississippi Safety Council, Jackson, MS, FDP and Helen Van Dam, FDP director

Aug. 20 – Wisconsin Serving Victims of Crime Conference, Wisconsin Dells, WI, Lyn Thompson, TAT communications specialist, presenting

Aug. 26-29 – TAT and the FDP at GATS

Aug. 28 – Michigan Trucking Association Annual Conference, Traverse City, MI, Capt. Mike Krumm, Michigan State Patrol and Lyn Thompson, TAT communications specialist, presenting

Aug. 31 – TAT and the FDP at Peterbilt, Denton, TX

TAT News from the July 2015 Newsletter

OOIDA driver and truck stop operator work together to save runaway girl

Bill Underwood, of Alta Vista, Kansas and owner of Underwood Farms with four trucks, recently picked up a young girl stranded on the side of the road in Mississippi.  He was concerned about her welfare, due to “how young and innocent she looked.” She told him she was almost 19 and that her car had broken down while she was trying to get back to Lake Charles, Louisiana.

TA GREENWOOD

Underwood, a father of eight children, stated “he just couldn’t leave her there on the side of the road.” He gave her a ride to the TA Travel Store in Greenwood, Louisiana and contacted Dean Barnett, general manager. Barnett called the Greenwood police to see if they could assist with the girl’s safe return home.

“There’s a local Methodist church which is also involved in the TAT program and tries to help people in this situation,” Barnett said. “I was hoping they would be able to get her a bus ticket home, so she wouldn’t have to hitch a ride, if she was who she said she was. She didn’t have any ID with her.”

When Police Chief Shane Gibson arrived and started interviewing the girl to learn more about her situation, he learned she was only 14 and a runaway from a youth home.

“As a result of this driver caring enough about this child, she was most likely saved from something bad, if she would have been left on the side of the road,” Barnett observed.

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director concurred, “Runaways are especially vulnerable to the manipulation of traffickers, so it is heartening to see members of the trucking industry recognize a child in need and respond immediately. This is why members of the trucking industry are indeed everyday heroes.”

Mississippi Trucking Association learns about human trafficking at annual conference

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, spoke at the Mississippi Trucking Association annual conference in San Destin, Florida on June 13 to educate them on the realities of domestic sex trafficking and how they can combat it.

“Mississippi’s governor is about to form a task force on human trafficking, so it’s a pivotal time for their state in terms of awareness and involvement,” said Paris. “The message was well-received by the member companies in attendance, and TAT will continue to work with the MTA staff to keep this issue on their radar screens and ensure more Mississippi-based companies become TAT trained.”

Truckers Against Trafficking participates in United Way event to fight human trafficking

United Way invited many of the nation’s top anti-trafficking leaders, including Truckers Against Trafficking and the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP), to gather at its headquarters in Alexandria, VA on June 22-23 to launch a new center to combat human trafficking.

“This is a pivotal move on their part and will certainly be a game-changer for the movement, considering their credibility and long-standing relationships … especially within industry,” stated Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “Two of their biggest goals are to make human trafficking a major platform for the 2016 presidential elections — as it is the greatest human rights violation of our time — and to request $3 billion in funding, to be split equally between international and domestic work.”

Currently the United States government spends $250 million on its domestic and international anti-trafficking programs combined, while traffickers, both labor and sex, make approximately $150 billion a year.

Paris reported that it was “extremely rewarding” to have TAT’s peers, including the Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, FBI, Salvation Army, survivors, Ashoka, Department of Justice, United Way, International Justice Mission, and others, walk through the FDP and sing its praises. Words and phrases like, “innovative,” “amazing,” “impressive,” and “extremely well done,” were the most common responses. TAT’s partners from the National Association of Truck Stop Operators Foundation and the Truckload Carriers Association also stopped by.

Bradley Myles, executive director of Polaris Project, which runs the national hotline and is the largest anti-trafficking organization in the country, singled TAT out during his presentation as “innovative in terms of working on this issue sector-by-sector and something that needs to be replicated.”

ASHOKA STAFF MEMBERS WHO TOURED THE FDP AT THE UNITED WAY EVENT FLEXED THEIR MUSCLES TO SHOW THEIR SUPPORT FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

Virginia coalition build successful

TAT co-hosted a coalition build with the Virginia Trucking Association and the FBI in Richmond, Virginia, on June 24, with a full house of law enforcement and trucking industry members collaborating about closing loopholes to traffickers in their area. The Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) was also there.

Dale Bennett, president of the VTA, said, “This is a first-of-its-kind event in the state of Virginia. We have never had law enforcement, travel plazas, prosecutors and trucking companies in the same room together working to combat a crime. This was great!”

Survivor leader Tanya Street said, “The Freedom Drivers Project helps start conversations. It is a safe place to dialogue, and it acts as a glue bringing people together to tackle this problem.

Thank you to Atlantic Bulk Carrier, Wilson Trucking Corporation, Paxton Companies, Intertrans Carrier Company and Howell’s Motor Freight Inc. for providing lunch and helping offset the costs of bringing the FDP to Virginia.

From left: Dale Bennett, president of the Virginia Trucking Association, Tanya Street, survivor leader, and Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, all participated in the Virginia coalition build.

Ohio collaboration meeting addresses awareness of human trafficking in transportation

LYN THOMPSON, TAT COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST, SPOKE AT THE OHIO STATEWIDE COLLABORATION MEETING WHICH WAS ORGANIZED AND PUT ON BY CAPT. CRISPEN OF THE OHIO STATE HIGHWAY PATROL.

Reminding people that almost all crime at some point involves transportation, and that this is  especially true of human trafficking, whether it’s transporting a victim across town, across the state, or across state lines, Capt. Mike Crispen of the Ohio State Patrol (OSHP) opened the first Ohio statewide collaboration meeting to discuss human trafficking awareness throughout the transportation industry.

The meeting was held on June 4 at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Training Academy and was sponsored by the Ohio State Patrol, the Ohio Department of Public Safety and Truckers Against Trafficking. Participants included representatives from the trucking and travel plaza industry, the bus and taxi industries, numerous Ohio state government offices and law enforcement and many non-profit entities in Ohio which are working to end human trafficking.

After a morning of education on human trafficking and what’s happening in the state on this issue, participants were split into groups to discuss how to broaden the awareness of the issue in the state by identifying target audience groups they could influence, how they could deliver the message to them and what would be the first bite-sized goals they could create to get this done

“It was one of the most productive meetings I’ve participated in,” said Lyn Thompson, TAT communications specialist. In their group, the travel plaza representatives, which included TA/Petro and Pilot/Flying J, along with ODOT, came up with some great suggestions for what they could do, as did the industry group, with trucking, bus and taxi industries represented. The Ohio Trucking Association, several trucking companies, Greyhound Bus and the Columbus Yellow Cab companies were in that group. The government group, which included someone from the Governor’s office and the Ohio Attorney General’s office, as well as others, also had some fine goals to work toward – some of which are already underway throughout the state.

Capt. Crispen commented, “I was very humbled by the enthusiasm of the participants. With the help of the transportation community, we believe we can saturate the state of Ohio with enough informed people to make our state a bad place to work if you’re a trafficker, and we have TAT to thank for their leadership and guidance on this endeavor.”

Capt. Crispen has instituted a series of regular e-mail and phone follow-ups with participants to check on progress being made and plans a couple meetings a year to keep the momentum going from this meeting. The Ohio State Patrol and the Ohio Department of Public Safety are currently implementing portions of TAT’s Iowa MVE Model, including handing out 5000 pieces of anti-human trafficking material to people within the transportation environment before the end of September, along with holding a minimum of three public awareness details within each of their eight districts around Ohio in that same time frame. Capt. Crispen has reported that the Department of Public Safety is currently printing 50,000 each of three of TAT’s informational materials. He and his team are working on a grant to fund signs for the back of trailers and other forms of transportation. Additionally, they have worked with CDL training schools to ensure that at least 45 minutes of anti-human trafficking training, including the TAT training video, are part of their courses.

TAT News from the June 2015 Newsletter

New TAT training tools available and accessible

Two new human trafficking awareness training tools – a DVD and an online course — are now available through TAT.

TAT’s new training DVD, with 26-minute and 13-minute formats, can be requested attat.truckers@gmail.com or 612-888-4828. The longer version can also be watched on the TAT website, www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org. The online course, which takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete, is available athttp://education.truckersagainsttrafficking.org. It features audio and video, interactive material, specific-to-role scenarios, quizzes, and a section for parents to help educate their teens. 

While different in format and form, both tools provide valuable information, often in question and answer arrangement, regarding what human trafficking is, many of the locations where it exists, what it will most likely look like and the steps a person should take once it is recognized.

TAT presents at VTA Safety Management Conference

THE VIRGINIA TRUCKING ASSOCIATION’S SAFETY MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE BROUGHT TOGETHER REPRESENTATIVES FROM ABOUT 40 COMPANIES.

Lyn Thompson, TAT communications specialist, spoke at the 2015 Virginia Trucking Association (VTA) Safety Management Conference on May 14 in Hampton, Virginia. As part of her presentation, she showed the 13-minute version of TAT’s new training DVD. This was the first time it has been shown since its printing, and it was well received.

At the conclusion of Thompson’s presentation, Dale Bennett, VTA president, encouraged everyone in the room to take the information and materials home and train their employees and drivers. He shared that Virginia, the last state in the union to do so, has now passed an anti-human trafficking law, and that “being involved with Truckers Against Trafficking in their fight against these heinous crimes is simply the right thing for the responsible trucking industry to do.”

Alan Caviness of Houff Transfer Inc., and conference committee chairman, as well as Willie Cantrell of Intertrans Carrier Co. and 2015 Safety Management Council chairman, also spoke to the group after Bennett, urging everyone to train their drivers and employees and spread the word about fighting human trafficking.

The next TAT event in Virginia will be a coalition build with law enforcement and Virginia trucking representatives in Richmond on June 24. Virginia state patrol are also using part of the Iowa MVE model to get TAT materials in the hands of trucking at scale facilities, in motor carrier interactions and at truck stops in the state.

Human trafficking one of the issues addressed at law enforcement meeting

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) presented at the Nationwide Domestic Highway Enforcement  conference in Chandler, Arizona in May. Around 400 law enforcement officers, supervisors and analysts gathered to hear from experts in many fields about issues facing law enforcement.

Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, spoke to a number of officers from a wide swath of states about working with the trucking industry to combat human trafficking.

As one senior officer said, “Law enforcement needs organizations like Truckers Against Trafficking to help us fight crime. Our best tips come from good citizens from around the country, and this is a good example of that.”

TAT News from the May 2015 Newsletter

TAT presented Congressional Award

With Brad Bently and Debbie Sparks from the Truckload Carriers Association, Elisabeth Barna from the American Trucking Associations and Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman from the National Association of Truck Stop Operators Foundation in attendance, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) received the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness as part of the annual Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus Awards on April 22 at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Bill Brady, an over-the-road truck driver for Lodestar, who also often drives the Freedom Drivers Project for TAT, accepted the award on behalf of TAT.

Debbie Sparks, vice president of the Truckload Carriers Association, commented, “It was a great day for trucking, thanks to TAT.”

“It is truly an honor to be accepting the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness. She was an incredible woman who did so much to help those who needed it most, and that is exactly what we’re trying to do at TAT each day … help the exploited and vulnerable. None of it would be possible without our industry partners who are truly driving change in combating domestic sex trafficking. This is a great moment for all of us,” stated TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris.

Every year, the Caucus sponsors awards around National Crime Victims’ Rights Week to honor crime victims and those who serve them for outstanding efforts in victim advocacy, allied professional advocacy, public policy, and public awareness.  This award honors Suzanne McDaniel, one of the first prosecutor-based victim advocates in Texas and in the nation.

U.S. Representative Ted Poe from Texas chose TAT for the award.

The Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness

Kevin Kimmel presented Harriet Tubman Award

Con-way Truckload driver Kevin Kimmel from Tavares, Florida received the 2015 Harriet Tubman from Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) for his actions which saved a woman from torture and modern-day slavery.

The award, which carries with it a $2500 check, is named in honor of famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman, whose courageous personal actions resulted in the transportation of 300 slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad and whose overall role in the freedom movement was instrumental in the freeing of thousands more. Born into slavery in 1820, Miss Tubman was the first African American woman buried with full military honors and the first to have the inaugural Liberty ship named after her – the SS Harriet Tubman – by the US Maritime Commission.

“Because of Harriet Tubman’s connection to transportation through the Underground Railroad and her heroic work to free thousands of slaves, TAT believes she epitomizes the symbol of freedom a trucking anti-trafficking award represents,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director.  “And we’re proud to say that Con-Way Truckload partners with TAT in the training of their employees with TAT materials. To date, they’ve trained over 1500 of their employees. Driver Kevin Kimmel’s actions in reporting the suspicious activity he saw while resting at a truck stop is exactly the type of action we want to recognize with the Harriet Tubman award. This award was created to honor a member of the trucking industry each year whose direct actions help save or improve the lives of those enslaved or prevent human trafficking from taking place.”

On the morning of Jan. 6, 2015, Kimmel caught a glimpse of a distraught-looking young girl in the darkened window of an RV which had pulled into the New Kent, Virginia truck stop where Kimmel had stopped for some sleep.

Suddenly, her face was gone, almost as if it had been yanked away by someone.

Kimmel reported later to media that he “saw a guy come up and knock on the door, then go inside the truck stop, then quickly came back and knocked again, all of the sudden the thing was rocking and rolling.”

He decided things didn’t looked right and called the police. When police responded, they found an Iowa couple in the RV, along with a 20-year-old malnourished and frightened young woman, who said the couple had kidnapped her two weeks earlier in Iowa, had physically and sexually abused her and then forced her into prostitution. The couple was arrested and charged with sex trafficking.

Kimmel, who has daughters and granddaughters, learned the gruesome details of the case through the news. “I’m just happy I helped her,” he said.

Kimmel received the check and award at a special ceremony at Con-Way Truckload’s headquarters in Joplin, Missouri on April 3. At that same ceremony, he was awarded the Truckload Carrier Association’s Highway Angel Award, http://www.truckload.org/Highway-Angel.

FDP open for tours at the CMCA Top Tech Championships

The Freedom Drivers Project was present and available for touring at the Third Annual TopTech Skills Competition of the Maintenance Council of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association. This competition is designed to test the skills of local technicians in multiple categories having to do with heavy duty maintenance. The competition, held April 25 at the Lincoln College of Technology Denver Campus.

Alabama Trucking Association sets goal to become premier Southeast state trucking association

Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, represented TAT at the Alabama Trucking Association’s (ATA) annual conference in Destin, Florida on April 23-24.

Bridgestone employees paved the way for the invitation for TAT to present at the conference, and, in addition to thanking them, Lanier said, “The ATA were exceptional hosts. They paid all our expenses to the event and received our message with a standing ovation and multiple commitments to train their drivers. They are basically throwing down the gauntlet to other Southeast state trucking associations, stating they want to be known as the premier state trucking association in the Southeast. They have set a goal to get more Alabama trucking companies TAT trained and registered than any other Southeast state.”

TAT News from the April 2015 Newsletter

TAT releases new training tools this month

New training tools for human trafficking prevention and intervention, including an updated training video and a new interactive, online training curriculum, will be available this month through TAT’s website.

“We released our first training video in early 2011,” said TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris. “The progress the trucking industry has made in combating domestic sex trafficking since then is tremendous, and we wanted our premiere training tool to not only highlight their efforts, but also speak to the numerous locations members of the trucking industry, including local drivers, can recognize and report human trafficking situations. Moreover, our online training curriculum provides another medium for bringing even more in-depth training to our audiences.”

While different in format and form, both tools provide valuable information, often in question and answer arrangement, regarding what human trafficking is, many of the locations where it exists, what it will most likely look like and the steps a person should take once it is recognized. The online curriculum even has a number of scenarios for specific employee groups of the trucking/travel plaza industry, and a section for parents to help keep their children safe from exploitation.

Both tools – the video and the online curriculum – will go live on the TAT website in April. Watch for them. 

MATS 2015 busy time for the TAT team

The Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky proved a busy time for the TAT team members who worked the booth area. Record-breaking crowds ensured that thousands of trucking industry members interacted with the TAT team, heard about human trafficking, learned what they could do to prevent it and received TAT materials. Approximately 30-40 percent of the people who stopped at the booth, or close to 2000 people, took the additional time needed to tour the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP).

After touring, MATS participant Peggy Visser commented, “The actual articles from the survivors made this real for me. They’re human beings whose lives have been destroyed.”

Pam Merritt, another MATS attendee, said, “This is information the average person doesn’t think about or is even aware of.”

Kylla Lanier, left in vest, talks to a crowd of MATS attendees about human trafficking.

Love’s saves the day!

When an Oklahoma snow storm resulted in the cancellation of the March 5 coalition build in Oklahoma City, after both the Freedom Driver’s Project (FDP) and the survivor advocate, who had flown in from Arizona to train participants at the meeting, were in place, Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores saved the day.

A TAT gold corporate sponsor and partner in the fight against human trafficking, Love’s had TAT bring the FDP and Beth Jacobs, the survivor advocate, to their corporate headquarters for a private training day. More than 100 corporate employees toured the FDP and were able to interact with Beth. Thank you, Love’s! It was a great opportunity to get to know you better!

The Oklahoma coalition build has been rescheduled for July 23, 2015 in Oklahoma City.

FROM LEFT, BETH JACOBS, SURVIVOR-ADVOCATE, SPOKE TO MANY OF THE LOVE’S CORPORATE EMPLOYEES AS THEY TOURED THE FREEDOM DRIVERS PROJECT.

New student curriculum empowers youth to stay safe from exploitation

A ground-breaking prevention curriculum, slated for nationwide release on April 1, uses peer experiences and empathy-developing discussion to help youth, from seventh grade on up, navigate vulnerabilities in their lives to remain safe from a wide range of exploitation, from bullying to child sex trafficking.

The Empower Youth Program is a five-part package of short films, activities and discussion questions to help those already working with youth facilitate prevention-focused conversations about empathy and exploitation in their schools and neighborhoods. While many prevention programs require that the host organization be present to lead the trainings, The Empower Youth Program comes in a content package (consisting of a film bundle and facilitator guidebook) any facilitator can lead, whether educators, parents, youth service providers or anyone working with a teen.

Developed by iEmpathize, a Boulder, Colorado-based non-profit working to evoke empathy and empower people to end child exploitation, the curriculum is the result of a two-year collaboration with specialists in the fields of education, child psychology and exploitation prevention. It was piloted last fall in four states, by 10 different facilitators, including teachers, task force leaders, a human trafficking survivor and others, in schools, after-school programs and faith communities to over 350 youth. Participants commented that it helped them gain wisdom in relationships, distinguish more easily between truth and fakery in the disguises people often wear and understand more clearly how empathy can play a major role in ending exploitation.

“Exploitation is taking advantage of the most vulnerable in our society,” explained iEmpathize Founder and President Brad Riley. “The problem is pervasive, and each community struggles with how to respond. Sympathy is feeling badly for the suffering of others, which seems like a good response but actually fails to address the problem. Empathy is the active response to the suffering of others.

Empathy compels us to engage the exploitation and move towards ending it. We have found that when people are empowered with the tools and opportunities to respond, they most often do. That is what the Empower Youth Program is all about.”

The Empower Youth Program differs from other prevention programs by its non-sensationalized content, featuring no gratuitous or sexualized imagery or language; its peer-led media sections, which share wisdom about overcoming hard circumstances in order to thrive; its wide range of strategies to help kids stay safe from any form of exploitation, not just the worst kinds; and its usability by anyone who already has a relationship with a teen to facilitate empowering, prevention-focused conversations.

Its five modules include:

      • Module One: Empathy – What is empathy, and why is it important in my life?
      • Module Two: Negative Pushes – How can I navigate negative personal and cultural pushes in my life? • Module Three: Negative Pulls – How can I navigate negative personal and cultural pulls in my life, especially when people sometimes wear deceptive disguises?
      • Module Four: Positive Pulls – How can I determine the difference between a disguise and a real positive pull in my life?
      • Module Five: Intervening Safely – How can I safely help someone who is experiencing exploitation?

To watch the trailer or for more information on The Empower Youth Program and how to obtain a copy, visit www.iempathize.org/empower/teens.

TAT News from the March 2015 Newsletter

TAT welcomes partnership with Walmart®  
Walmart® Logistics is now partnering with Truckers Against Trafficking in the education and training of their drivers on the issue of human trafficking. Steven Garrish, Walmart senior director of private fleet safety, said the partnership will include:

      • Training their more than 7200 private fleet drivers
      • Making available the TAT training video for drivers to view at their convenience
      • Producing trafficking awareness stickers which will be put on all company-owned vehicles
      • Supporting TAT with $2,500

Furthermore, Walmart plans on making TAT training part of their annual training and will introduce TAT to other key industry groups with the hopes that additional training partnerships will result.

“Walmart is proud to partner with the organization Truckers Against Trafficking to raise awareness about human trafficking in the US,” stated Walmart Vice President of Transportation Jeff Hammonds.  “As a retail leader, we hope to use our size and scale to encourage education for all professional truck drivers, so they remain vigilant and recognize human trafficking and understand how to report suspected behavior to law enforcement.”

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, added that human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar business each year, with children and young women the most likely targets. “Partnering with Walmart in this effort is a game-changer. Between their large private fleet, extensive carrier relationships and genuine desire to combat domestic sex trafficking at both the management and professional driver levels, we know their efforts will have exponential effects in recovering victims from exploitation.”

Click here to read the article which appeared in Landline.

Bad weather no hindrance to successful Georgia coalition build

In spite of falling temperatures, ice and difficult travel, the Georgia coalition build, hosted by Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, drew approximately 70 participants from trucking and law enforcement on Feb. 17 in Atlanta.

“Fighting the scourge of human trafficking has been one of my top priorities as attorney general,” said Olens. “It is a grave violation of human rights that robs people of their dignity and self-worth. We have declared that ‘Georgia’s Not Buying It,’ and I am committed to putting away criminals who engage in this unconscionable activity. I applaud Truckers Against Trafficking for their work to engage the trucking industry in eradicating this evil, and I appreciate the support of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association.”

Director Vernon Keenan of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who joined the meeting late due to the icy road conditions, characterized those present as a “strategic group” and told participants their lives would be profoundly impacted if they participated in the recovery of even one child.

Presentations at the training included a Georgia law enforcement panel and a moving testimony from trafficking survivor and advocate Dorsey Jones. “Her presentation was powerful,” said TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris. “In addition to sharing her trafficking story, which began when she was 11, she engaged participants by telling them she wished they’d been around when she was little, and that by working together, they were going to help child after child after child.”

Trucking and travel plaza representatives talked enthusiastically about taking the training back to their employees and continuing to work with law enforcement to fight the crime of human trafficking.

The Freedom Drivers Project was parked in front of the Georgia state capitol during the coalition build, where more than 100 people toured it, including a large number of state legislators and people from the attorney general’s office.

TAT welcomes partnership with Walmart®  
Walmart® Logistics is now partnering with Truckers Against Trafficking in the education and training of their drivers on the issue of human trafficking. Steven Garrish, Walmart senior director of private fleet safety, said the partnership will include:

      • Training their more than 7200 private fleet drivers
      • Making available the TAT training video for drivers to view at their convenience
      • Producing trafficking awareness stickers which will be put on all company-owned vehicles
      • Supporting TAT with $2,500

Furthermore, Walmart plans on making TAT training part of their annual training and will introduce TAT to other key industry groups with the hopes that additional training partnerships will result.

“Walmart is proud to partner with the organization Truckers Against Trafficking to raise awareness about human trafficking in the US,” stated Walmart Vice President of Transportation Jeff Hammonds.  “As a retail leader, we hope to use our size and scale to encourage education for all professional truck drivers, so they remain vigilant and recognize human trafficking and understand how to report suspected behavior to law enforcement.”

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, added that human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar business each year, with children and young women the most likely targets. “Partnering with Walmart in this effort is a game-changer. Between their large private fleet, extensive carrier relationships and genuine desire to combat domestic sex trafficking at both the management and professional driver levels, we know their efforts will have exponential effects in recovering victims from exploitation.”

Click here to read the article which appeared in Landline.

Bad weather no hindrance to successful Georgia coalition build

In spite of falling temperatures, ice and difficult travel, the Georgia coalition build, hosted by Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, drew approximately 70 participants from trucking and law enforcement on Feb. 17 in Atlanta.

“Fighting the scourge of human trafficking has been one of my top priorities as attorney general,” said Olens. “It is a grave violation of human rights that robs people of their dignity and self-worth. We have declared that ‘Georgia’s Not Buying It,’ and I am committed to putting away criminals who engage in this unconscionable activity. I applaud Truckers Against Trafficking for their work to engage the trucking industry in eradicating this evil, and I appreciate the support of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association.”

Director Vernon Keenan of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who joined the meeting late due to the icy road conditions, characterized those present as a “strategic group” and told participants their lives would be profoundly impacted if they participated in the recovery of even one child.

Presentations at the training included a Georgia law enforcement panel and a moving testimony from trafficking survivor and advocate Dorsey Jones. “Her presentation was powerful,” said TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris. “In addition to sharing her trafficking story, which began when she was 11, she engaged participants by telling them she wished they’d been around when she was little, and that by working together, they were going to help child after child after child.”

Trucking and travel plaza representatives talked enthusiastically about taking the training back to their employees and continuing to work with law enforcement to fight the crime of human trafficking.

The Freedom Drivers Project was parked in front of the Georgia state capitol during the coalition build, where more than 100 people toured it, including a large number of state legislators and people from the attorney general’s office.

Freedom Drivers Project to be showcased at the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo

Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA) has announced a new partnership between its annualAlternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, the largest clean fleet event, and Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the trucking industry fight human trafficking as part of their everyday jobs.

The 2015 ACT Expo, to be held May 4-7 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, has pledged a portion of the event’s total registration revenue in donation to the cause, as well as provided exhibit space for TAT’s educational mobile trailer, the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP), in the expo hall.

“ACT Expo’s partnership with Trucker’s Against Trafficking represents an unprecedented opportunity to educate fleet operators about the realities of domestic sex trafficking,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “We are grateful for this opportunity to empower thousands of individuals and organizations with this important information, and believe this partnership will have exponential effects within the industry.”

ACT Expo attendees, who represent all facets of the transportation industry, will have an opportunity to get involved with the TAT mission and learn simple steps they can take to help combat human trafficking. TAT’s 48-foot trailer will be on display in the expo hall during the four-day conference, complete with educational materials and interactive TV displays inside the mobile exhibit. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to make a separate donation to the organization during the online event registration process.

With more than 200 sponsors and exhibitors, ACT Expo 2015 will host some of the top names and transportation leaders across the alternative fuels and clean vehicle technologies arena.  The keynotes and full speaker lineup will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, visitwww.actexpo.com.

TAT News from the February 2015 Newsletter

Arizona coalition build draws full crowd

As part of the state’s preparation for hosting the Super Bowl, Arizona law enforcement from all levels and state trucking and travel plaza leaders gathered in Florence, Arizona on Jan. 8 for a coalition build, co-sponsored by TAT and the Pinal County Attorney’s Office.

Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles, explained, “It’s only logical for the trucking industry to collaborate with law enforcement to fight back against human trafficking. I appreciate the support the trucking industry showed at the Pinal County Attorney’s Office and Truckers Against Trafficking seminar. It’s invigorating to know that so many entities care about taking back our streets and educating the community about this fast-growing crime. Truckers working with law enforcement create a second pair of eyes and ears for police. The Truckers Against Trafficking seminar gave them the tools they need to work closely with law enforcement. I’d like to thank Truckers against Trafficking, Sheriff Paul Babeu, Homeland Security, the FBI and the Phoenix Police Department for helping PCAO make this event a success.”

All 50 seats were full at the coalition build, with a great turnout from carriers and travel plaza general managers, as well as law enforcement. Training included a panel discussion, presentations from law enforcement, TAT, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and a trafficking survivor who is also a survivor leader and advocate, Beth Jacobs. Additionally, participants had the opportunity to tour the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP), as part of the four-hour event.

“Each coalition build is beneficial, but the meeting in Florence, AZ epitomized why we created them,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “Everyone in the room understood the problem, and the critical role they could play in helping to close loopholes to traffickers. The dialogue between trucking industry members and law enforcement was extremely rich; the information shared was relevant and powerful … especially when Beth Jacobs shared her story of survival and trained audience members on how to be more effective in aiding and identifying victims. It was a true meeting of the minds, and I believe it will result in greater communication between the two sectors, hundreds more being trained, and, ultimately, victims being recovered.”

Tascha Spears, PhD, RN director for the Pinal County Family Advocacy Centers, commented, “The event demonstrated the strength in numbers of the trucking industry … and together with the Pinal County Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement agencies, we have stepped up the fight against human trafficking in Pinal County and nationwide.”

TAT’s next coalition build will take place Feb. 17, across the street from the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia in conjunction with the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. The FDP will also be available for touring at that event.

Mid-West Truck and Trailer Show

The Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) will be traveling to Peoria, Illinois for the Mid-West Truck and Trailer Show on Feb. 6-7, where HELP, Inc., the public-private partnership for PrePass that provides weigh station bypass and other truck safety services, is sponsoring exhibit space for TAT’s mobile exhibit.

Don Schaefer, HELP chairman and member of the Mid-West Truckers Association, which operates the Mid-West Truck and Trailer Show, said, “Mid-West Truckers Association supports many causes, such as Special Olympics, St. Jude’s Hospitals and local charities. We joined TAT last year and started offering free advertising space in our monthly magazine and space on our association website. We were intrigued with the phenomenal growth and support for TAT, as it put a particular issue in the forefront.  I’ve worked with Dave Lorenzen (TAT board of directors) of Iowa State Patrol on several issues … Dave suggested we bring this to the board of directors of HELP last summer. We were glad to see HELP, Inc. jump in and become a sponsor and vocal supporter for TAT’s efforts. I hope we can get TAT’s message out to the many people who go through the Mid-West Truck & Trailer Show.”

The Mid-West Truck and Trailer Show is in its 52nd year and expects more than 5500 attendees for the two-day event, located at the Peoria Civic Center. The FDP will be located in Space M.

TAT trains drivers at Landstar’s BCO Appreciation Days

More than 200 drivers earned their Certified Truckers Against Trafficking (CTAT) designation during training sessions Jan. 22-24 at Landstar’s BCO Appreciation Days at Landstar headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida.

“We had a great time with the Landstar team,” said Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director.”Three hundred people toured the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP). We had in-depth and really enlightened conversations with so many drivers about human trafficking and the underlying causes. We so appreciate Landstar’s corporate commitment to fighting human trafficking, as well as the incredible owner/operators who have such big hearts and want to end injustice for those being prostituted against their will. We also sold 30 trailer stickers, gave out hundreds of TAT window decals and wallet cards, and enjoyed the camaraderie and good spirits at this event. Thanks for inviting us, Landstar!”

Landstar, a TAT corporate sponsor, pushes the CTAT program with their owner/operators and have 1522 trained, in addition to the newly trained drivers at this event. They invited TAT to this event to promote TAT’s mission and get their drivers more fully involved with TAT.

The training helps drivers to gain a new perspective on the girls and women they might see in their travels. Jim Hudson, a Landstar driver, remarked, “We used to be taught to turn them away … don’t let them in your cab, don’t talk to them, run them off. Even by our trainers we were told this … now it is a 180. We are taught to call for them … to help them. I think we can also use our Dashcams to pull stills from and turn over to law enforcement for evidence. It is important we use all our tools to make a difference.”

TAT News from the December 2014 Newsletter

Freedom Drivers Project impresses participants at international summit on combating human trafficking in West Virginia 
The Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) drew comments like “impressive,” “amazing” and “beautifully done” from law enforcement personnel and experts from around the world who convened at the American Military University in Charles Town, West Virginia, Nov. 17-20 for the second annual international summit on combating human trafficking, titled Widening the Net: Together Let’s Stop Traffick.” The event was co-hosted by the university and the International Police Training Institute (IPTI).

“As one of the only anti-trafficking mobile exhibits in existence, summit coordinators thought the FDP was an ideal addition to their event. And, indeed, TAT not only gained great exposure, but educated audiences and participated in forward-thinking collaborative sessions on the issue as well. Moreover, hearing human trafficking experts from around the globe praise the FDP and envision its inclusion in future events was extremely affirming,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director.

The event offered a variety of collaborative workshops and best practice information-sharing sessions and drew more than 100 representatives of the international law enforcement, human-trafficking prevention, and victim support and business communities. Leading experts, drawn from agencies working in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America, and Asia, shared their first-hand experiences of an illegal global trade which delivers profits of around $150 billion to its criminal overlords, according to the latest estimates from the International Labour Organization.

“The 2014 Summit is the second of three events through which we plan to, collectively, build a world-leading borderless center to combat human trafficking, which countless law enforcement and border agencies, non-governmental organizations, and victim-support groups advise is desperately needed. With that resource center and coordinating strategies in place, we can accelerate bringing an end to the untold suffering endured by our world’s poorest and most vulnerable individuals,” said Kim Derry, IPTI co-chair and event founder.

TAT LAUNCHES ONLINE STORE

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) announces the launch of an online store at (www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org/store) with a limited number of products.

One of the products, offered in response to many requests from truckers for a larger decal, is a mega 11 inch by14 inch TAT decal for truck or trailer. This decal is modeled after the artwork on the Freedom Drivers Project and sells for $10, which includes postage in a mailing tube. A substantial price reduction is available for fleet owners wishing to purchase the decals for a fleet of 10 or more trailers. Information about fleet pricing can be obtained by e-mailing tat.truckers@gmail.com.

The first company to purchase these decals for its entire fleet of 200 is Snider Fleet Solutions (SFS), headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Tony Mullen, SFS logistics and purchasing manager, is also president of a non-profit organization called Crossroads Compassion Project (www.crossroadscompassion.com), which provides a safe house in the country of Moldova for young girls who are vulnerable to being trafficked. The Crossroads Compassion Project provides free public showings of a documentary on human trafficking in America to raise awareness of this crime. At one of these events, Mullen was discussing ways to raise awareness with a professional truck driver and the idea for the decals emerged.

“The driver told me that truck drivers spend their day staring at the back of the trailers in front of them and a light bulb went off,” explained Mullen. “Why not put decals on the back of trailers and other vehicles that travel our highways, where they will be seen day in and day out by thousands of people,” he added.

“Because TAT is so well connected in the transportation industry, and we’re already using TAT materials in a variety of ways, we thought it would be wonderful if we could partner on these stickers,” Mullen stated. “Snider Fleet Solutions wants to lead by example, including fighting human trafficking. We would also like to engage our customers by forming partnerships with them and encouraging them to get their drivers educated by TAT and displaying these decals on their fleets. There is strength in numbers. I think that together, through this project, we can blanket North America with a strong message that we do not approve of what is happening around us, nor will we turn a blind eye to it. We will stand, united in the fight against human trafficking.”

Kendis Paris, TAT’s Executive Director, stated, “We are thrilled to have Snider Fleet Solutions step up and become the first fleet in the nation to carry these striking new stickers on the back of their delivery trailers. We hope every fleet owner will check out our stickers at our online store, which launches today, and consider purchasing them for each of their trailers. I welcome the opportunity to discuss fleet discounts with them. We also hope every owner/operator will also consider putting one on either their trailers or tractors.”

In addition to the mega stickers, TAT’s online store will also sell specialty TAT clothing. TAT’s training materials and side-window decals will continue to be provided free-of-charge to members of the trucking industry.

TAT News from the November 2014 Newsletter

Freedom Drivers Project participates in human trafficking forum in Carlsbad, New Mexico

With the oil industry booming in Carlsbad, New Mexico, Truckers Against Trafficking and iEmpathize, (a non-profit that combats human trafficking through the arts and media – www.iempathize.org) joined U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, NM Second District, in a human trafficking awareness event Sept. 25-26 in Carlsbad. The event provided ordinary citizens, politicians, law enforcement and members of the trucking industry information and ideas for the steps they can take to fight against the human trafficking usually drawn to oil boom towns.

iEmpathize showed their documentary Boom: The Perfect Storm, which chronicled the human trafficking that arrived in Williston, North Dakota, shortly after oil was found thereTAT made its Freedom Driver’s Project (FDP), a mobile exhibit demonstrating the realities of human trafficking and what the trucking industry is doing to fight it, available for touring, and both organizations participated in a roundtable and community forum led by Congressman Pearce. Johnny Johnson, managing director of the New Mexico Trucking Association, also participated on the forum.

“During the panel, the questions and discussion were great,” commented Kylla Leeburg, TAT deputy director. “We appreciated how many people were taking notes, asking how to get involved, taking materials and determining the best ways to combat trafficking.”

FDP travels to Houston Community Human Trafficking Forum

Honoring a request by U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Second District, to participate in a community human trafficking forum he was holding in Houston on Oct. 16, the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) left New Mexico for Texas. Held at Houston’s First Baptist Church, the forum featured Congressman Poe and speakers from law enforcement, anti-human trafficking organizations, and Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. Following the forum, those in attendance were invited to tour the FDP.

Congressman Poe spoke about TAT in Congress in February 2013 and participated in the debut press conference for the FDP at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) in August. He is the sponsor of a bill that has passed the House and is currently in the Senate which would provide greater support in fighting/investigating human trafficking and caring for victims. The bill can be found here.

TAT provides training at Region 4 meeting of the NAPFTDS

Members of the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools (NAPFTDS) attending the Region 4 meeting in Drumright, Oklahoma, Oct. 23-24, are now TAT trained and have the certificates to prove it.

Kylla Leeburg, TAT deputy director, provided a combination Human Trafficking 101/TAT 101 training for attendees, following which, each one received a TAT-trained certificate signed by NAPFTDS president Rob Behnke and TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris.

“The carriers and truck driving instructors there were very motivated to join or continue their participation in the fight against human trafficking,” Kylla said. “Half of them were already showing the video; all of them were excited about the NAPFTDS TAT training module available online (http://napftds.org), which includes a narrated power point HT 101/TAT 101, the link to the TAT training video, and the TAT-trained certificate.”

Upcoming events

Nov. 1 – Kylla Leeburg, TAT deputy director, will be at the Durga Tree International Fundraising Masquerade Ball … TAT is to be one of the fundraising recipients

Nov. 4-6 – Guido Haijenius, TAT representative, will be training the California Highway Patrol Nov. 8 – Laura Cyrus, TAT administrative specialist, will be speaking to the Colorado Motor Carrier Association Safety Breakfast in Colorado Springs

Nov. 10 – Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, will be consulting with international visitors from the Marshall Islands, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Sudan and Tunisia through the U.S. State Department’s International Visitors’ Program

Nov. 19 – Laura Cyrus, TAT administrative specialist will be speaking at the Colorado State Patrol Port of Entry

TAT News from the October 2014 Newsletter

Freedom Drivers Project well received on first outing

The Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) received hundreds of favorite comments during its first tour since being debuted at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) Aug. 21-23.

Transported from Dallas to Ohio by Garner Transportation Group, the FDP received Garner’s attention, support and transportation to three separate venues in Ohio — a luncheon at Ohio Logistics in Findlay, a conference at the University of Toledo, and the annual meeting for Garner Transportation Group in Findlay from Sept. 17-20. Two Ohio state representatives, trucking and travel plaza executives and employees, members of the Zonta Club of Findlay, trafficking survivors and participants at the 11th Annual International Human Trafficking, Prostitution and Sex Work Conference at the University of Toledo were among those who toured the trailer. Many of these also attended presentations at each venue on what the trucking industry is doing to fight domestic sex trafficking along our nation’s highways.

The information and exhibits in the trailer visibly moved two trafficking survivors who went through FDP, as well as a conference attendee who had formed negative impressions of truckers from the media. This woman came out of the FDP in tears, saying she had been wrong about her perceptions of truckers, and she was going home to tell her daughters that she’d been mistaken to basically label all trucking people into a particular category with a negative impression about them. Two teenage girls who went through the trailer exhibit commented that it was very sobering … as they looked at the artifacts from survivors, the reality of domestic sex trafficking hit them in a personal way, and they realized it could be their cell phones or their compacts or their lipsticks on that artifact wall.

On Oct. 16, from 6-7 p.m., the FDP will be at a human trafficking awareness event hosted by U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, District 2, Texas, and other community leaders at Houston’s First Baptist Church, the Loop Campus, 7401 Katy Freeway.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: MAILE DOYLE, ZONTA OF FINDLAY PRESIDENT; ROBERT SPRAGUE, OHIO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES; SHERRI GARNER BRUMBAUGH, GARNER TRUCKING, INC.; CHUCK BILLS, OHIO LOGISTICS

Law enforcement and trucking work together to fight human trafficking

Jim Burg, President of James Burg Trucking Company (JBTC) in Warren, Michigan, recently sent the following letter to Chief David Lorenzen, from Iowa DOT’s Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement. The letter highlights the way trucking and law enforcement are coming together to close loopholes to traffickers. We are also pleased to announce that JBTC is our newest silver level corporate sponsor. Our thanks to Chief Lorenzen and Jim Burg!

TAT Facebook celebrates over 50,000 likes

In September, TAT’s Facebook page recorded over 50,000 likes and is now well on its way to 60,000. Kylla Leeburg, TAT deputy director, has been in charge of TAT’s social media communications since 2009 when TAT began.

“It’s inspiring to be a part of the evolution that has occurred on our Facebook page over the years,” Leeburg commented. “To read encouraging messages from our social media audience to survivors who share their stories on our page, to see the heartfelt reactions of human trafficking survivors to TAT’s work and their appreciation of the members of the trucking industry for recognizing the signs of human trafficking and then calling in to stop it, to the legitimate, difficult conversations we have about the legalization of prostitution, the different shapes trafficking takes, the root influences that make people vulnerable, the back stories of victims, and the gaps in legislation, it has been a growth experience for all of us involved with the page. I feel we have made some tremendous steps forward in our understanding of human trafficking, while still grappling with tough issues that arise in the anti-trafficking world. It’s what makes the page dynamic. We are having a conversation — one that will go on for years — and it’s healthy and good to talk about these things.”

In addition to Facebook, TAT social media includes Twitter at @tatkylla, a YouTube page, an Instagram site and the Blog at www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org.

TAT News from the September 2014 Newsletter

Freedom Drivers Project debuts at GATS

Hundreds of people were impacted by the issue of human trafficking and what the trucking industry is doing to fight it after walking through TAT’s new Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Aug. 21-23. The GATS debut included a press conference featuring U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, Texas, along with Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, and Scott Perry, TAT board member and vice president of Supply Management, Ryder Fleet Management Solutions.

FDP is already scheduled for several events, including a human trafficking conference and trucking conference in the Toledo, Ohio area in mid-September, as well as a human trafficking awareness event in Carlsbad, New Mexico with U. S. Congressman Steve Pearce, New Mexico District 2. In Ohio, Sherri Braumbaugh, president of Garner Transportation Group, and Pam Zimmerly, of Ohio Logistics, are hosting the trailer for several events. Garner Transportation Group is also providing the truck to move the trailer to the various locations where it will be available for viewing in Ohio.

For more information or to schedule FDP at an event, click here or contact Kendis Paris, 720-202-1037 or tat.truckers@gmail.com.

TAT to work with U.S. State Department  program to train international visitors

WorldDenver, an organization that helps to administer the State Department-sponsored International Visitor Leadership Program, http://eca.state.gov/ivlp, in the Denver area, has asked TAT to be a training partner for two of their Fall groups.

These foreign visitors have been invited by a U.S. Embassy to participate in a short-term professional exchange program. In August and September, two groups focused on combating human trafficking in their countries have expressed interest in meeting with TAT.

At the end of August, Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, trained a group who work in various capacities for the government of Bahrain’s Labor Market Regulatory Authority, which oversees foreign workers, investigates and prosecutes trafficking cases and ensures compliance with anti-trafficking laws. At the end of September, she’ll provide a similar training for a group of visitors from Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Taiwan, India and Jordan. They are interested in exploring a variety of anti-trafficking efforts in the United States.

TAT and Freedom Drivers Project on the move in September

TAT and/or the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) will be present at the following events in September:

Sept. 5 – South Dakota Trucking Association, Rapid City, SD, Kylla Leeburg, TAT deputy director, speaking

Sept. 9-10 – Motor Carriers of Montana Annual Convention, Billings, MT, Kylla Leeburg, TAT deputy director, speaking

Sept. 12 – New York State Motor Truck Association Annual Conference, Cooperstown, NY, Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, speaking with Officer John Collins of NY Port Authority

Sept. 17 – Missouri Trucking Association Annual Conference, Ridgedale, MO, Kylla Leeburg, TAT deputy director, speaking

Sept. 17 – Executives Against Human Trafficking, Ohio Logistics, Findlay, OH, Lyn Thompson, TAT communications specialist, speaking and FDP tour

Sept. 18-19 – 11th Annual International Human Trafficking, Prostitution and Sex Work Conference, University of Toledo, Lyn Thompson, TAT communications specialist, speaking and FDP tour

Sept. 20 – Garner Transportation Group Annual Conference, Findlay, OH, Lyn Thompson, TAT communications specialist, speaking and FDP tour

Sept. 25 – Kansas Motor Carrier Association Annual Convention, Manhattan, KS, Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, speaking

Sept. 25 – FDP tours at New Mexico State University at Carlsbad, NM

Sept. 26 – Public screening of Boom, an iEmpathize film about sex trafficking in oil boom towns, at New Mexico State University at Carlsbad, NM, followed by FDP tours

Sept. 27 – Human Trafficking Conference in Carlsbad, NM, featuring U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, NM 2nd District; Special Agent Maez from the NM Attorney General’s office; Kylla Leeburg, TAT deputy director; and Brad Riley, iEmpathize president, followed by FDP tours

TAT News from the August 2014 Newsletter

Freedom Drivers Project to debut at GATS

Freedom Drivers Project, TAT’s first-of-its-kind, 48’-long, mobile empathy exhibit, will make its debut at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) in Dallas Aug. 21-23. This unit will continue to position the trucking industry in a leadership role in the fight against human trafficking, as it will educate the general public on human trafficking as well as what the trucking industry is doing to combat it and how individual people can help.

The outside trailer wrap prominently displays the Freedom Drivers Project name, the TAT logo, a driver graphic, and the logos of sponsors who have already signed on to show their support of this project, including Ryder, Bridgestone, Maxon Lift, Morgan Corporation, Great Dane, Cummins, Colographic, Utility Trailer Manufacturing, Bendix, Meritor, Waltco Inc., Carrier Transicold and Supreme Industries. Inside, the trailer features a theater area where people can watch a version of TAT’s training DVD, which highlights how a trucker, making a call, was instrumental in saving the lives of nine minors, shutting down a 13-state prostitution ring and making the arrest of 31 offenders; artifacts from survivors that provide clear evidence of the pervasiveness of this crime, demonstrate the push and pull factors that place people in positions vulnerable to exploitation, and connect the audience directly to the realities of domestic sex trafficking; the stories of trucking “everyday heroes” who are the actual truckers against trafficking (both at a corporate and individual level); and a section demonstrating to the public how they can make a difference in the fight against human trafficking in their own jobs and lives.

At GATS, the trailer will be located in booth #10009, on the perimeter and near the Pride and Polish show trucks. Be sure you stop by and go through this dynamic exhibit that highlights the trucking industry and educates about human trafficking in a memorable way.

On Friday, Aug. 22, at 10:15 a.m., there will be a press conference in the front of the trailer. Speakers will include U.S. Congressman Ted Poe from Texas, as well as dignitaries from a number of leading trucking organizations.

Upcoming coalition build to focus on trafficking in South Dakota

A coalition build, hosted by the South Dakota Trucking Association, the South Dakota US Attorney’s Office, the South Dakota Department of Justice and Truckers Against Trafficking, is scheduled for Aug. 12, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Best Western Plus Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Attendees, who include leadership from South Dakota trucking companies, as well as general managers from area truck stops and travel plazas and members of all area law enforcement groups, will become informed about local law enforcement issues related to child sexual exploitation and human trafficking. They will also have the opportunity to hear from the personal experience of a survivor/leader, to gain a more in-depth perspective from someone who has first-hand knowledge of this criminal activity.

The objective of coalition builds is to gather the law enforcement agencies (state, federal and local), along with local anti-trafficking resources (task forces and local NGOs), in the same room with the general managers of truck stops, trucking companies and state trucking associations in order to provide training, and create space for law enforcement and trucking to work together to close loopholes to traffickers.

Bringing law enforcement and the trucking industry together to fight human trafficking

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, will join a powerful line-up of speakers from around the country and Canada at the 24th Annual MVCI/DIAP/EPIC, to be held Aug. 11-14 at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She’ll speak to the multiple ways law enforcement and the trucking industry can work together to fight human trafficking along our nation’s streets and highways.

The Motor Vehicle Criminal Interdiction (MVCI) Association’s goal is to provide law enforcement officials an intelligence and networking environment to share the latest criminal trends and learn innovative criminal interdiction concepts. The annual MVCI conference, in cooperation with Drug Interdiction Assistance Program (DIAP) and El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), will benefit all law enforcement officials involved in the apprehension and prosecution of criminals on our nation’s highways, including highly motivated commercial vehicle enforcement personnel, criminal interdiction offices, patrol supervisors, investigators and intelligence officers.

Last year, the Motor Vehicle Enforcement (MVE) division of the Iowa DOT, under the leadership of Chief Dave Lorenzen, created a model showing all states the multiple ways to use TAT materials when working with the trucking industry. That model includes the following implemented actions from IOWA DOT:

      • Train MVE employees with TAT materials.
      • Stock weigh stations and rest areas with TAT materials.
      • Visit truck stops and trucking companies with TAT materials, urging them to train employees and distribute.
      • Spread awareness about TAT via multiple channels — website, Iowa Truck Information Guide, state fair, etc.
      • Use influence to spread the word about TAT to trucking (and other) agencies (i.e. DIAP, CVSA, motor coach industry, driver services staff, etc.).
      • Incorporate TAT training DVD and wallet cards into all programs that MVE builds (law enforcement, service clubs, motor carrier industry).
      • Use asset forfeiture funds to pay for TAT materials.
      • Ensure that every CDL issued (or renewed) is accompanied with a TAT wallet card.

TAT News from the July 2014 Newsletter

TAT TO HOLD TWO COALITION BUILDS IN JULY

TAT will be working with state law enforcement and trucking/travel plaza leaders on two coalition builds in July. On July 9, we’ll be in Menomonee Falls, WI and on July 29, in Des Moines, IA.

The objective of coalition builds is to gather the law enforcement agencies (state, federal and local offices, including local police departments, FBI, DHS and the AG’s office), and local anti-trafficking resources (task forces and local NGOs), in the same room with the general managers of truck stops. Recently, TAT began including leadership from major trucking companies in the area, as they and their drivers have a critical part to play and need to be brought into the loop with these resources and law enforcement as well.

These coalition builds ensure the following to participants:

      1.  Provide extensive human trafficking training and urge the members of the trucking industry to implement it with their entire staff/driving force, as well as use their location (if a truck stop) to help spread the word to truckers and other members of the traveling public.
      2. Connect general managers and trucking company executives with local resources in their area to combat human trafficking.
      3. Provide networking opportunities and honest dialogue between law enforcement, task force members/local non-profits, and the trucking industry in order to close loopholes to traffickers.
      4. Trucking industry members should all know to call the NHTRC (National Human Trafficking Resource Center) when they suspect human trafficking at 1-888-3737-888 and/or have the working cell phone of local law enforcement with them.
      5. Create a flash email chain with all pertinent contact information to increase communication within the coalition.
      6. Meet the actual law enforcement that will be investigating cases on their lots and in their area. This could lead to assistance in future undercover operations, as well as establish trust/rapport between the groups. It could even lead to operational/makeover changes on lots where necessary.
      7. Expand the reporting protocol of the NHTRC
      8. Encourage the implementation of the Iowa DOT model to state/highway patrol (but also to local police who can implement portions of model), and share TAT resources with law enforcement.

Tom Liutkus, vice president of marketing and public relations for TravelCenters of America, has described the coalitions this way, “The coalitions bring real local trafficking criminal activity information to the focus of the general managers of all local truck stop operators. Moreover, it allows those same general managers a more direct line of communication with the right law enforcement agencies if they spot trafficking activity.  Becoming part of a local connected network of watchdogs and enforcers adds a layer of enhanced monitoring that could greatly dissuade the criminal element from even considering entering our properties.”

TAT News from the June 2014 Newsletter

TAT and WIT Pilot Program to Combat Human Trafficking

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) and Women in Trucking (WIT) are looking for 25 women drivers to participate in a three-month pilot program handing out lip balm with a special message on them to girls and women who might be human trafficking victims.

“We are excited to see our partnership with WIT move to the next level, and truly believe this campaign has great potential to reach victims with the help they so desperately need,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director.

Women, by virtue of their gender, often have greater opportunity to interact with and show compassion to minors and adult women (away from their pimps and without suspicion), who may be the victims of forced prostitution. This interaction may occur in public restrooms at truck stops or travel plazas, in a hotel/motel lobby, at a laundromat or even in a restaurant. That interaction, either via the message on the lip balm (if the girl is able to act on it) or the phone call a driver makes — if human trafficking is suspected — could directly lead to victim rescue.  A similar program in Kentucky resulted in a spike of victim calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-3737-888 requesting help.

To harness this potential for female interaction, TAT and WIT are launching this three-month pilot to run from July 7-Sept. 30, 2014. If successful, the program has the potential to expand across the United States with an unlimited number of drivers participating. Participating drivers in the pilot will be responsible to hand out specially printed lip balms to those they think might be human trafficking victims and to engage them in conversation, if that is possible. At the end of each interaction, participating drivers will need to write down specific data regarding the exchange, as well as report potential human trafficking situations to the NHTRC.

An online training webinar for the 25 women will take place on June 24, 2014 from 5:30-6:30 CST. It will cover how to approach and interact with potential victims as well as understand the field data that needs to be documented after each exchange.

If you’re interested and care about taking advantage of the key role you can play as a female driver in reaching out to girls and women forced into the sex industry, please call 920-737-9490 or email lana@womenintrucking.org. Deadline to sign up is June 15, 2014.

TAT announces two full-time staffers

Kylla Leeburg, TAT social media coordinator, and Laura Cyrus, TAT administrator, have both accepted full-time positions with TAT that will include expanded responsibilities.

KYLLA LEEBURG, DEPUTY DIRECTOR

In addition to her leadership with TAT’s social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube accounts, Leeburg will become TAT Deputy Director. Cyrus, who currently handles all administrative duties and who implemented the redesigned TAT website this year, will now have the time as TAT’s Administrative Specialist to leverage her passion and talent for management and operations of technology to expand TAT’s reach and success.

“I’m excited to begin working full time for TAT in this new role,” Leeburg said. “To see how TAT has grown both from the grassroots and corporate level has been amazing. I will now get the opportunity to more fully engage the trucking industry and participate in TAT’s coalition builds and meetings with state trucking associations. I look forward to meeting the many wonderful members of the trucking industry who want to help end human trafficking.”

Leeburg has been involved in the fight against human trafficking since 2007 when she co-founded the organization from which TAT evolved as well as helped initiate the state coalition against trafficking in Oklahoma. She has a master’s degree in Educational Psychology and has been teaching for 18 years. In 2011, she was named Teacher of the Year for the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Public School District. In addition to her human trafficking work, she has authored a book called My Life Crazy about her missionary experiences working with gangs in El Salvador in the mid-1990s.

On June 6, Leeburg will be training more than 200 drivers at Ohio’s Truck Driving Championship as part of the Ohio Trucking Association’s new partnership with TAT.

LAURA CYRUS, ADMINISTRATIVE SPECIALIST

Cyrus has been working part-time with TAT since April 2013. She has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Women, Gender, and Social Justice, and has just completed her master’s degree in International Human Rights, with a concentration in Forced Labor, Human Trafficking and Human Rights, from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She has served on a variety of non-profit boards and also brings experience from the business sector, where she co-founded/operated a start-up company, which allowed her to write, host a weekly radio show, and produce a web-tv series.

She commented, “I am beyond thrilled to be joining TAT full-time. Working for such an amazing organization in the anti-trafficking field is the realization of a calling that has been six years in the making. I am so excited to bring my talents, education, and passion to TAT. I looking forward to growing our partnerships, connecting with our members and donors, establishing streamlined systems for data collection and management and, ultimately, encouraging growth to further our mission.”

TAT News from the April 2014 Newsletter

TAT to make upcoming appearances

Fresh off an appearance at the Truckload Carriers Association conference in Grapevine, Texas, as well as manning a booth at MATS, TAT will be represented at the following events:

      • American Trucking Association’s Safety Management Council meeting on April 3, Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, speaking
      • TAT Coalition Build in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 8, Kendis Paris speaking
      • In Our Own Backyard: Human Trafficking in Iowa event April 28, Kendis Paris speaking with the Iowa Department of Transportation, local healthcare providers and public officials on what is being done now
      • Concerned Women of America in Manchester, Maine on April 9 at Hope Baptist Church, Kylla Leeburg, TAT social media coordinator, speaking
      • Maine Motor Transport Association meeting on April 9 in Augusta, Maine, Kylla Leeburg speaking
      • Coastal Bend Coalition Against Modern Day Slavery Symposium on April 11 in Corpus Christi, Texas, Lyn Thompson, TAT strategic volunteer for communications, speaking

More on TAT Coalition Builds

Coalition builds are TAT events to provide a more effective localized response to human trafficking by gatheringlaw enforcement agencies (state, federal and local) and local anti-trafficking resources (task forces and local non-governmental organizations) in the same room with the general managers of truck stops in their area.

These half-day events:

      1. Provide extensive human trafficking training and urge the general managers (truck stop/travel plaza general managers) to implement this with their entire staff, as well as use their location to help spread the word to truckers and other members of the traveling public.
      2. Connect general managers with local resources in their area to combat human trafficking.
      3. Provide networking opportunities and honest dialogue between law enforcement, task force members/local non-governmental organizations, and the trucking industry in order to close loopholes to traffickers.
      4. Ensure that GMs know to call the NHTRC when they suspect human trafficking at 1-888-3737-888 and/or have the working cell phone of local law enforcement with them.
      5. Create a flash email chain with all GM contact information, so when a suspicious vehicle is present on one lot, GMs can send out a notice to other lots to be on the lookout (along with calling the information into the hotline).
      6. Meet the actual law enforcement that will be investigating cases on their lots.This could lead to assistance in future undercover operations, as well as establish trust/rapport between the two groups. It could even lead to operational/makeover changes on the lots.

After working with human trafficking survivor/leader Beth Jacobs for the past two years on coalition builds and then reviewing feedback from law enforcement and trucking representatives on the effectiveness and impact of the training she provides, TAT has hired Jacobs as a part-time field trainer, beginning March 1.

In her position, she will be responsible for co-coordinating and conducting law enforcement trainings for TAT, assisting in the preparation, training and completion of coalition-build meetings throughout the nation, and consulting with TAT staff on broader movement issues. Additionally, she will represent TAT at various speaking engagements throughout the year (trucking, government agency, film and webinar), to educate audiences about the realities of domestic sex trafficking.

“I’m excited about working with TAT,” said Jacobs, “because it’s an upstanding agency which values survivors and understands how important we are to the movement. TAT seeks out survivor opinions and consistently asks for survivor input. As a field trainer, some of my responsibilities will include training law enforcement, court personnel, and probation. I look forward to doing this. I hope to change attitudes and clear up myths and stereotypes about victims and survivors. I want to help these populations see victims as people, and as one of themselves. I often think people don’t see us the same as themselves or their own families. If people can think we come from another place, their own families don’t seem to be at risk. I believe dispelling this myth will change the way we address prevention strategies. We are all at risk for our loved ones to be affected. Traffickers do not discriminate. Awareness and prevention efforts are huge parts of the battle to stop Human Trafficking

A survivor of child sex trafficking, Jacobs was trafficked for six years, beginning in her mid- teenage years. After escaping the life, she earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Metropolitan State University, graduating with honors. Her extensive resume includes working with survivors at Breaking Free and Volunteers of America; spearheading the Offenders’ Prostitution Program (John’s School) for the United States Department of Justice in St. Paul, Minnesota, where it has become a bench policy for anyone with a prostitution-related offense; as well as being a writer, workshop and educational presenter, collaborator, survivor curriculum creator, group facilitator and program/training creator. She counts her greatest achievement as moving from survivor to leader in the fight against human trafficking.

In addition to representing prostituted/sex trafficked women and girls on different committees and state collaborative efforts in Minnesota, she worked with the state’s Attorney General Mike Hatch to create The Hoffstead Committee Report, focused on the need for emergency housing for prostituted youth. After moving to Arizona, Jacobs created a non-governmental organization in Tucson, Arizona in 2012 called Willow Way, to help other victims of sex trafficking find their way to freedom and success. She has collaborated with Codac Behavioral Health, Ward 6, Pima county courts and Tucson police to create Project Raise, an alternative-to-jail program offering services to prostituted/sex trafficked people.

She continues to work on public policy issues, trying to educate and encourage people to change outdated, ineffective legislation, while working to enhance and support survivor leadership, empowering others to use their voice. Additionally, Jacobs participated in two legislative briefings in Washington, DC, and on a panel as an expert at New Hampshire School of Law with Cindy McCain in March 2014.  She was recently contracted to be an evaluator for a Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) training to show  attorneys how to help trafficking victims vacate their charges according to Arizona’s new human trafficking bill signed into law in April of 2014.

TAT News from the February 2016 Newsletter

Elisabeth Barna joins TAT Board of Directors

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