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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Episode 22 – July 14, 2021

Dr. Nissi Hamilton, CEO of A Survivor’s Voice of Victory, shares with us about racism and the systems it has created which lead to vulnerabilities with African Americans, Latinx, Indigenous and Asian women and girls that make them targets of traffickers. She shares her experience as a black woman survivor of human trafficking, including what led her to her trafficker and the barriers blocking her way to a thriving life. Dr. Hamilton is a passionate advocate for survivors and shares how we, as companies and individuals, can break down those barriers to combat racism and human trafficking.


Racial and Gender Disparities in the Sex Trade by Rights4Girls: https://rights4girls.org/wp-content/uploads/r4g/2018/09/Racial-Justice-fact-sheet-Sept-2018-Final.pdf

Snapshot on the State of Black Women and Girls: Sex Trafficking in the U.S.: https://www.cbcfinc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/SexTraffickingReport3.pdf

The Link Between Systemic Racism and Human Trafficking: https://www.dressember.org/blog/systemicracismandtrafficking

Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents: https://bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/cshti0810.pdf

Episode 21 – June 9, 2021

In June, which is Pride Month, we want to acknowledge and work against the difficulties and discrimination faced by those in the queer community, which can make someone more vulnerable to trafficking. It’s ok to disagree with people, but no matter if or how we disagree, it’s important to make sure everyone is safe. That’s why it’s important to better understand what LGBTQ2ia+ individuals face, so we can do that … so we can stop trafficking however it happens. Forty percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+ and 46 percent of them ran away due to family rejection. LGBTQ+ youth are 7.4 times more likely to experience acts of sexual violence than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. And providers for youth report that many LGBTQ+ youth prefer to engage in sexual acts in exchange for a place to stay rather than risk experiencing the abuse and potential violence they sometimes face in youth shelters and foster care. Imagine feeling that putting yourself in that position is better than what could be faced in a place that is supposed to support you, but hasn’t in the past or has hurt your friends. Hear from Wade Arvizu, an anti-trafficking subject matter expert, author and speaker about the realities faced by people in the queer community and how we can each take action.


Wade’s books: www.kdroche.com/book

The book recommended by Wade: “Love is an Orientation” by Andrew Marin https://www.amazon.com/Love-Orientation-Elevating-Conversation-Community/dp/0830836268

“Ride with Pride: With changing times, LGBTQ truckers move more confidently in spite of lingering harassment”: https://www.overdriveonline.com/life/article/14896726/ride-with-pride-with-changing-times-lgbtq-truckers-move-more-confidently-in-spite-of-lingering-harassment

The National Human Trafficking Hotline information and resources: https://polarisproject.org/lgbtq-communities-and-human-trafficking/

How to better understand and connect with LGBTQIA loved ones: https://lgbtqia.ucdavis.edu/educated

“Know Your Rights” section to help LGBTQIA people experiencing discrimination: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/lgbtq-rights/

Episode 20 – May 26, 2021

Traffickers exploit any vulnerability they can find in their victims, whether that is trauma from past violence, isolation from support networks, language barriers, lack of familiarity with their surroundings, or simply their hopes and dreams for a better future. These vulnerabilities can be particularly heightened among immigrants and refugees, which is why we’re thrilled to have Kristyn Peck, the CEO of Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area, on with us to share her insights into the intersection between human trafficking and migration. From the exploitation of domestic workers, to a teenager lured by the promise of romance, to construction workers trapped in debt bondage, join us on this episode of Driving Freedom as we discuss the stories of survivors and examples of how traffickers use their migrant victims’ vulnerabilities as methods of both recruitment and control.


Case example: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-stockton-convicted-human-trafficking-charges-related-forced-labor-foreign-nationals

Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area: https://lssnca.org/

More about immigration and trafficking: The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants services for trafficking survivors webpage. Check out the toolkit, “Safety Planning with Foreign National Children and Youth Survivors of Trafficking,” for resources and tips: https://refugees.org/services-for-survivors/.

Episode 19 – May 12, 2021

Anti-sex trafficking programs and organizations across the US report that survivors on their caseload are overrepresented by youth or young adults from the foster care system. Some programs even report as high as 85% of the survivors getting services from their programs have had contact with the foster care system. Tune in to hear from Josie Feemster, a survivor advocate who’s worked with survivors who’ve been in the foster care system, as we learn how trafficking and foster care overlap and what we in the trucking and transportation industries can do about it.


More about the intersection of human trafficking and foster care: https://humantraffickingsearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Foster-Care-Report.pdf

This is the US Office of Children and Families: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/focus-areas/foster-care

The Runaway Hotline for youth who are in need of support: https://www.1800runaway.org

Episode 18 – April 28, 2021

Unlike adults without consistent housing, youth are often pushed into homelessness directly, because of an already traumatic situation — whether that is violence in the home or rejection by their family. Fresh off one traumatic situation, they are then targets of traffickers seeking to exploit the vulnerabilities that seem to grow exponentially overnight. This leaves survivors of homelessness and sex trafficking like Sherry, who also served as a committee member of the Advisory Council for the National Network for Youth, to ask, “Do I really have a choice? Or is youth homelessness and trafficking truly a never-ending cycle?” Join us as we speak with Darla Bardine, the executive director of the National Network for Youth, an organization dedicated to amplifying the voices of youth experiencing homelessness, in the hopes of seeing an end to it. What are the barriers to finding secure housing and to leaving sex trafficking for youth experiencing homelessness? Tune in to learn more!



About homelessness and human trafficking: https://nn4youth.org/learn/human-trafficking/

About the National Network for Youth: https://www.safernj.org/prevent-online-grooming

A study by Covenant House on labor and sex trafficking of homeless youth: https://www.njhumantrafficking.org/education

Episode 17 – April 14, 2021

Trafficking doesn’t happen instantaneously. Traffickers manipulate and trick their victims into thinking they want to be there or it’s their fault. This makes it much easier than trying to keep someone locked up against their will. This also means there is a time before the trafficking begins where we, as fellow youth, parents, and safe adults can recognize the signs of grooming and stop trafficking before it happens! Pay attention if you hear of a persistent relationship with a person online who your friend or child has never met in person or if you notice new clothes or nice gifts from an unexplained source. Tune in to this episode to learn more from Danny Papa with the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking about how you can recognize and stop grooming from leading to trafficking. Learn the role a school bus driver can play and how you, as a truck driver, community member, or local advocate can best equip your local schools to recognize and stop trafficking as well!



School outreach toolkit & school transportation toolkit: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/get-our-materials/#botl-materials

More about grooming: https://www.safernj.org/prevent-online-grooming

‘15 ways to engage your school’: https://www.njhumantrafficking.org/education

Episode 16 – March 31, 2021

What if you are not an over-the-road driver or spend every night at home? Could you still be in a place to recognize and report human trafficking? Yes, local and regional drivers are still very much in locations to potentially intersect with victims of trafficking as you’ll hear from America’s Road Team Captain and TAT Ambassador Tim Taylor, a road driver for FedEx Freight. Tim shares his own stories as a driver, experiences as a TAT Ambassador and his experience observing sex trafficking in Florida. Learning to see the red flags, such as recognizing minors in commercial sex and the signs of traffickers, and then, telling others about trafficking, are both ways to make a difference wherever you are. Drivers are critical members of our communities, and no matter the miles you drive on a daily basis, you can be equipped to provide a pathway to freedom.



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

Harriet Tubman Award nomination page: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/harriet-tubman-award/

Episode 15 – March 17, 2021

Wondering about the prevalence of trafficking in Canada? Join us as we examine the issue of trafficking in Canada with a powerful survivor interview which highlights the reality of the situation, including a personal account of her experiences as a minor in Nova Scotia. Hear where it happened, how she was groomed by her family, the signs adults in her life could have looked for, and the tips you’ll need to recognize to report trafficking in Canada today.


Learn more about TAT Canada: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/canada/

Canadian Centre To End Human Trafficking: https://www.canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca

Canadian Centre To End Human Trafficking, report on human trafficking in Canada: https://www.canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Human-Trafficking-Corridors-in-Canada-Report.pdf

Episode 14 – March 3, 2021

Pornography is inextricably linked to sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. In 2020, TraffickingHub, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) and a New York Times article spotlighted the stories of individuals who were sex trafficked or sexually abused in videos shared on the now notorious website, Pornhub. Pornhub and other free porn upload sites like it claim they have no responsibility for the content uploaded by users on their site, so then what are we to do to stop this sexual violence? Listen in to our conversation with NCOSE’s Jake Roberson to learn how to navigate this topic and make a difference in your community.


TAT’s Man to Man: Address Demand Campaign: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/man-to-man-campaign/

Resources recommended for compulsive porn use: https://endsexualexploitation.org/resources-struggling/

Earn It Act: https://endsexualexploitation.org/articles/earn-it-act-is-our-best-option-to-protect-children-online/

Communications Decency Act and Section 230: https://endsexualexploitation.org/articles/human-rights-activists-respond-tech-industry-obstruction-anti-trafficking-legislation/

FOSTA SESTA: https://endsexualexploitation.org/articles/sex-trafficking-survivor-melanie-thompson-explains-importance-of-fosta-sesta/

Action steps you can take: https://endsexualexploitation.org/doj/

Information on PornHub and how to take action against them specifically: https://endsexualexploitation.org/pornhub

Why Self-Regulation Can’t Fix Pornhub (or the Pornography Industry): https://endsexualexploitation.org/articles/why-self-regulation-cant-fix-pornhub-or-the-pornography-industry/

Episode 13 – February 17, 2021

You may have heard of a boomtown — a town experiencing rapid growth due to prosperity — in this case, prosperity due to oil. Have you heard how this sudden prosperity has also led to some unintended consequences related to human trafficking? Meet Kevin Ficke, one man who’s part of a network, facing off against traffickers who wish to exploit the oil and gas industry’s good work for their own gain. Hear how traffickers could operate freely, selling their victims by word of mouth, and how Kevin confronts those who think it must not be a problem, simply because it isn’t their daughter being exploited. Kevin shares how multiple agencies, schools, and companies work together to help survivors recover and begin to thrive, and how he is there the whole way, providing support for survivors beyond the criminal case. In all of that, what you’ll hear is not only the story of the energy industry’s role in combating human trafficking, but the story of how you, as a professional driver, energy industry professional, or community members, are in those same shoes … the shoes of someone who can make the call, and save a life.


Truckers Against Trafficking Empower Freedom webpage: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/energy-program/

Truckers Against Trafficking Empower Freedom materials: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/get-our-materials/#energy-materials

Episode 12 – February 3, 2021

“You are my hero.” That’s the sentiment we often hear when it comes to our Harriet Tubman Award winners, and it is who we know professional drivers to be. The Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) Harriet Tubman Award, presented by Protective Insurance, honors a member of the trucking, bus, or energy industry whose actions directly impacted the life of someone exploited through human trafficking. Arian Taylor of Ballard Trucking shares the story of how he was in the right place at the right time with the right training to open a door to recovery and safety. Imagine a woman made to get out of a car holding all of her possessions while you’re waiting to unload your trailer. What would you do? Tune in to hear the experience and the impact of Arian’s call.


TAT’s Harriet Tubman Award details and stories: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/harriet-tubman-award/

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.


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

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.


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 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.


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 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.




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.


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 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.


Outside monitoring tool:

Other tips and tools:

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.


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 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.


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

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.


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 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.”


Saving Innocence: https://savinginnocence.org 

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

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.


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

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