Welcome to Driving Freedom, a TAT Podcast! As TAT works to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the truck, bus and energy industries to combat human trafficking as part of their regular jobs, we wanted to create a podcast that would serve as a helpful training tool to one of the largest mobile armies of eyes and ears out there on the roads seeking to recognize and report this heinous crime. Each short episode is designed to refresh critical issues learned and keep this life-saving information
top of mind.

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Episodes

Episode 1 – September 2, 2020

Are you looking for tips on how you can help stop trafficking? Welcome to our first episode of the Driving Freedom Podcast! On this episode, Annika Huff, Truckers Against Trafficking’s training specialist,  shares her story as a sex trafficking survivor. Annika shares what vulnerabilities in her life led to her trafficking, some of the manipulation techniques her traffickers used to keep her stuck in the life and what interactions made a difference in her escape from the life. Truck drivers and community members will learn the importance of taking a victim-centered approach once they recognize the signs of human trafficking and how to report it, so they can prevent human trafficking.

Resources: 

You can find our training video on our homepage: www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org

Additional training resources here: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/get-our-materials/

Episode 2 – September 16, 2020

Why does trafficking exist? Our guest, Alan Smyth, executive director of Saving Innocence, a Los Angeles-based non-profit that serves, empowers, and advocates for child victims of sex trafficking, dives into the cultural expectations that foster trafficking and addresses the action steps we can each take to be a part of reducing demand. Alan shares his experiences as a dad raising a son, wrestling with how to express and talk about masculinity. He shares how those types of conversations impact human trafficking. Ultimately, truck drivers, bus drivers, energy employees and community members can address this at three levels — in ourselves, conversations between family and friends, as well as education at a broader level, including corporate policies. Alan asks, “How can men become a big part of ending trafficking? Live a life that honors, serves and protects women and call other men into that.”

Resources:

Saving Innocence: https://savinginnocence.org 

Addressing Demand: Man to Man by Truckers Against Trafficking: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/man-to-man-campaign

Episode 3 – September 30, 2020

Is trafficking something I would really come across and be able to stop? Christine McDonald, an internationally recognized author, speaker and consultant, invites us to go behind the veil of commercial sex to see what that “choice,” that “life” was really like. She’ll explain why and how victims, like herself, often don’t know they’re trafficking victims. She didn’t know until two years after she got out, when she saw her man arrested on TV. Christine explains how the amount of humanity she experienced in the world of commercial sexual exploitation was such a microscopic spec that there was hardly any hope to hold onto. The way Christine shares her story not only gives us insights into the truth behind the facade of “choosing” prostitution, but depicts what it would look like for truck drivers and travel plaza or truck stop employees to make a powerful difference in the lives of victims in the short and long term. Christine’s familiarity with the complex vulnerabilities leading to and coming out of trafficking strengthens our understanding of the ways we can work towards stopping sex trafficking.

Resources: 

Relentless Pursuit: Rpor.org 

Schedule an event with Christine and find her books: Christinesvision.org 

Christine’s Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEj5RbFpuzjx_CuksAqgyXA

Episode 4 – October 14, 2020

Why are truck drivers strategic in the fight against sex trafficking? TAT has trained nearly 1 million people with our materials, but why did we decide to start working with drivers? In this episode, TAT Communications Director and co-founder Lyn Leeburg answers the oft-asked question of “why truckers?” and shares about the genesis of the idea for TAT. We hear about what it was like in the early days (How were the first wallet cards produced? What, if any, connections to the trucking industry did Lyn have?) and get Lyn’s take on the tremendous growth of the organization over the last 10+ years. We also hear about why Shari’s story* is one of Lyn’s most favorite examples of this work in action. Listen in to get a peek behind the curtain of the founding and start-up of TAT and how one simple idea has had such a tremendous ripple effect in helping to save and change countless lives. Learn how you could do the same.

Resources: 

*Shari’s story is featured in our complete training video.  If you haven’t already, please check that out here.

Episode 5 – October 28, 2020

Why do so many conspiracy theories involve child sex trafficking? These days, a lot of inaccurate information is circulating about human trafficking. In recent months and years, some of these myths have been baked into conspiracy theories that have spread like wildfires on social media, harming the anti-trafficking movement and potentially putting victims at greater risk. In this episode, TAT’s Busing on the Lookout program team, Annie Sovcik and Lexi Higgins, discuss the dangers with these conspiracy theories, debunk some common human trafficking myths and share helpful tips on how we can all be better consumers of information and more savvy in our use of social media.

Resources: 

Polaris: “How Unproven Trafficking Stories Spread Online and Why Stopping Them Matters” https://polarisproject.org/blog/2020/07/how-unproven-trafficking-stories-spread-online-and-why-stopping-them-matters/

Common Sense Media: “What is media literacy, and why is it important?” https://www.commonsensemedia.org/news-and-media-literacy/what-is-media-literacy-and-why-is-it-important

Episode 6 – November 11, 2020

Keeping kids safe online has been an important and growing area of concern for many parents. However, with more kids learning virtually and the increase in screen time available to many children and teens, knowing how to keep kids safe online has never been more vital. Those who seek to exploit others have a playground in the form of technology, offering a direct link to vulnerable youth. Today’s guest, Sydney Zuiker, dedicates her life to helping kids and parents learn the tools they need to prevent exploitation online. She shares relevant principles that parents and/or caregivers should keep in mind as they learn to communicate and build trust around online behavior and habits.

Resources: 

Outside monitoring tool:

Other tips and tools:

Episode 7 – November 25, 2020

What is familial trafficking, and what can we do about it? According to The Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative, almost half of identified cases of child trafficking begin with some family member involvement. These children often continue going to school and participating in everyday activities, even while being exploited by this trusted person at home. TAT Training Specialist Liz Williamson shares her expertise as a survivor of familial trafficking. She explains how familial trafficking happens and what it looks like, including examples from her own experience. She also shares the stories of two bus drivers that made an impression on her during her youth by simply showing kindness, and how one small action can truly impact someone’s life.

Resources: 

TAT’s Busing on the Lookout

iEmpathize’s Empower Youth Curriculum 

Unitas’ digital comics for youth

Ecpact online safety resources 

Parenting Safe Children – discussing body safety 

Common Sense Media – online safety

Episode 8 – December 9, 2020

Why call the NHTH at 1-888-3737-888 to report a tip when so many competing hotlines and reporting agency numbers abound? In this episode, the Director of the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Megan Cutter, joins TAT to discuss the critical work hotline advocates do in tracking human trafficking data nationwide and how this leads to uncovering routes and hotspots traffickers use. In addition, Megan explains the hotline’s policy on calls dealing with adult victims and how they’re working hard to reduce call-in wait times.

Resources: 

https://humantraffickinghotline.org/

https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/get-our-materials/

Episode 9 – December 23, 2020

Who better to have on our Truckers Against Trafficking podcast about professional truck drivers combating human trafficking than two professional truckers against trafficking themselves! Antoine Sadler, a Walmart Road Team Captain, and Barry Holland, a UPS Freight All Star driver, join the Driving Freedom Podcast to share their experiences. Both have spent about 25+ years on the road, the last couple of which included volunteering with Truckers Against Trafficking. Hear directly from the mouths of other drivers how to combat human trafficking and how this work has changed their lives.

Resources: 

Truckers Against Trafficking training: https://education.truckersagainsttrafficking.org/

Learn more about the Freedom Drivers Project:  https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/freedom-drivers-project-homepage/

National Human Trafficking Hotline: https://humantraffickinghotline.org/

Episode 10 – January 6, 2021

We launch into one of our biggest conversations yet on this episode — racism and human trafficking. Tanya Gould shares about her experiences as a black woman and what that has meant, not only for her own experience as a survivor of domestic sex trafficking, but for the experience of other survivors she’s worked with. Tanya is the founder of Identifiable Me, a non-profit that helps move those who have been victimized by sexual violence towards self-discovery and their life’s purpose. She leads us as we begin to talk about the various components of vulnerability and exploitation that demonstrate racism within human trafficking. Tune in to hear how mental health services, the job search and implicit bias all affect the lives of those vulnerable to and exploited by traffickers and what drivers can do about it as a part of your everyday job.

Resources: 

Racism and human trafficking: https://www.dressember.org/blog/systemicracismandtrafficking

Implicit bias: https://www.thoughtco.com/understanding-implicit-bias-4165634

Sarah Baartman: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Baartman

Episode 11 – January 20, 2021

How do I know when to suspect human trafficking? In this episode, Trooper Zach Heard of the Illinois State Patrol shares his experiences roadside, so that we can be better informed on what behaviors could indicate trafficking. As a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer, Zach is roadside like you. Zach shares his observations of clothing, certain tattoos and body language that I’d not thought to look for! Join us, as we learn alongside Trooper Zach Heard.

Resources: 

Check out more red flag indicators by downloading the TAT app on android or iOS devices and TAT’s Law Enforcement Training.

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