The newsletter stories are archived beginning with the most recent. Please scroll down to find the stories from past newsletters.

TAT NEWS FROM THE MAY 2021 NEWSLETTER

Day & Ross becomes first Freedom Driver level sponsor in Canada

Day & Ross, one of the fastest-growing and oldest providers of transportation solutions in North America, has become TAT’s first Freedom Driver level sponsor in Canada. With a fleet of trucks numbering in the thousands and more than 8,000 employees, Day & Ross is rolling out TAT training to all its drivers, which includes a formal announcement on their website and a video.

“Day & Ross was built by good people who are committed to doing good work,” said Bill Doherty, Day & Ross CEO. “As a North American transportation company, our drivers are uniquely positioned to join the fight against human trafficking and help keep our roads and rest stops safe. Our partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking reflects our ongoing commitment to doing good in the communities where we live, work and drive.”

Michelle Allard, vice president of Marketing and Communications for Day & Ross, commented that “Day & Ross is proud to be partnering with Truckers Against Trafficking to harness the power of our great driving team to spread awareness and help prevent human trafficking. As a Freedom Driver sponsor, this partnership is a true reflection of our values, and we’re committed to educating and equipping our drivers to make a difference.”

Day & Ross is also a member of TAT’s Canada Committee (TCC), a volunteer membership committee seeking to be a growth accelerator in expanding TAT’s anti-trafficking training among the trucking, bus and energy industries in Canada.

Schneider National, Inc. hosts TAT at Women’s Network event as part of commitment to TAT training

TAT Systems Administrator Susan Dold will present at a virtual Schneider Women’s Network event for Schneider National, Inc., May 11. Participants will also be able to tour the Freedom Drivers Project virtually. Since initiating TAT training in 2014, Schneider has trained 54,343 of their employees. A Platinum level sponsor, they co-sponsored a community education night at a local community college/CDL program that featured TAT, a local sheriff’s deputy and themselves presenting on human trafficking. The following year, they brought the FDP to five of their terminals, and have committed to three years of hauls for the mobile museum. This is the second time TAT has presented at Schneider’s Women’s Network event.

“The Schneider Women’s Network is women who are energized by the transportation and logistics industry and want to ensure Schneider’s ongoing success,” explained Tammy Grunert, Associate Relations director at Schneider. “As the eyes and ears of the nation’s highways, truck drivers are in an excellent position to assist law enforcement in recovering victims of human trafficking and having traffickers arrested. By calling in tips that are turned over to law enforcement, truckers are helping close loopholes traffickers use, which leads to lives being saved. That’s precisely why Schneider has been providing TAT training to driver associates since 2016, and why the Schneider Foundation has become a Platinum level sponsor of the organization.”

Longtime TAT partner continues to marshal resources to combat human trafficking

TAT would cease to exist without the support of its partners. PrePass Safety Alliance, a nonprofit, public-private partnership of state agencies and trucking industry leaders devoted to safe, secure and efficient use of North America’s highway system, is one such partner.

“For many years, the folks at PrePass have marshaled their resources in support of TAT’s work to combat human trafficking,” stated Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “From allowing us access to train their members, to activating their social media and other communication channels to raise awareness about the crime of human trafficking, to encouraging members to bid on (and purchase) the Everyday Heroes Truck in 2019, to their fantastic financial support … TAT is in their debt. I was also blown away by the decision last year of Mark Doughty, their president and CEO, to not only maintain their Platinum level sponsorship of TAT in the heart of COVID, but to donate an additional $5,000, as they knew we’d be hard hit as a non-profit seeking to fundraise in such times. These are the types of partners that inspire and encourage us.”

Mark Doughty, PrePass President and CEO

As a TAT partner since 2014, PrePass:

  • Hosted 93 TAT posts on Alliance social media since 2014
  • Hosted TAT Training Specialist Louie Greek on the PrePass Safety Alliance “Eyes on the Road” podcast in 2019 to talk about how truckers can get training to help spot and report human trafficking
  • Sponsored the TAT webinar “How Truckers and Fleets Can Help Stop Human Trafficking” in 2019
  • Posted eight TAT posts to the PrePass blog
  • Became a Platinum level sponsor
  • Made news when PrePass member Stewart Transport purchased the 2019 Everyday Heroes Truck

Doughty emphasized, “The tragedy that is human trafficking often plays out on or near our nation’s highways. That makes the work of Truckers Against Trafficking so vital as it educates, organizes and trains the trucking industry and agencies responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement alike on how to detect and disrupt human trafficking. PrePass Safety Alliance is proud to support TAT, as our missions align to improve safety on our nation’s highways.”

TAT publishes first quarterly report

“It’s imperative our supporters understand how their generosity generates results,” commented Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “Vantage Point is a fantastic new resource for TAT to communicate its impact and celebrate the crucial role our partners play in making those achievements possible.”

Rather than simply a compendium of everything accomplished in a quarter by TAT staff and programs, each issue of Vantage Point will strive to be more visual in nature and highlight a few of the quarter’s accomplishments. The first issue provides information on two events: TAT’s first Anti-Trafficking Trailblazers event and a TAT/BOTL (Busing on the Lookout) Virtual Bus and Casino Coalition Build in Nevada and spotlights two people who contributed to the success of those events. The rest of the issue provides a recap of some of the tips received from truckers at the National Human Trafficking Hotline and details a few additional quarterly results, including a graphic portraying TAT involvement in events from National Human Trafficking Awareness Month in January.

TAT NEWS FROM THE APRIL 2021 NEWSLETTER

TAT partners with Native Women’s Association of Canada to fight trafficking in Indigenous communities

In Canada, numerous studies and research projects have shown that, both currently and historically, Indigenous women and girls compose a significant percentage of trafficking targets. To raise awareness of this complex issue in an effective and comprehensive manner, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is working on a fully funded project to create three training modules for community members, the transportation industry and the hospitality industry. They approached TAT to partner with them on the transportation portion.

NWAC is an aggregate of 13 Native women’s organizations from across Canada, founded to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women within their respective communities and Canada societies. Its violence prevention arm is MMIWG, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which is committed to developing concrete actions to end the cycle of violence that affects Indigenous communities.

Candice Shaw, director of Violence Prevention and MMIWG, NWAC, said, “Having only just established in as a distinct policy unit October 2020, NWAC’s Violence Prevention and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (VP-MMIWG) was given an opportunity to develop partnerships with key organizations through a funded project seeking to address the impacts of human trafficking and sexual exploitation on Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. Through conversations with NWAC colleagues, TAT’s name was raised as a well-known and respected organization committed to providing educating and awareness to those who work in the transportation industry to recognize and report instances of human trafficking.”

She continued, “After meeting with Kendis, Kylla, and Liz, the VP-MMIWG team knew that their knowledge and experience would be a huge asset to the team’s current and ongoing scope of work. It was also readily apparent that the TAT team were deeply invested in hearing more about the specifics of the Canadian transportation context and its impact on historically marginalized populations like Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. This relationship quickly formed into a partnership in the truest sense. We are incredibly grateful for the time and energy that TAT has invested to help us co-inform training materials directed at the Canadian transportation sector, informed by Indigenous experiences and perspectives. TAT has shown us that passion, knowledge-area expertise, and dogged determination can achieve real and positive social change. We are humbled by this partnership experience, and we hope that this project has provided the first step in a long-lasting partnership journey between NWAC and TAT.”

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, described the new relationship by saying, “When it comes to understanding the links between human trafficking and Indigenous populations, our partnership with NWAC is proving to be invaluable. Not only will it strengthen and enhance our Canada-specific training resources, but this partnership is opening up clear communication lines between TAT and the local groups on the frontlines of the issue. Ideally, this collaboration will foster the targeted systems change necessary to combating sexual exploitation throughout Canada.”

“TAT’s incredible work and amazing success in helping everyday heroes make real change in their world is truly unique,” explained Shelagh Roxburgh, senior policy advisor for VP-MMIWG, NWAC. “Kendis, Kylla, Liz and the whole team are so open, passionate and grounded, and their ability to make complex issues part of day-to-day practice makes them an exceptional organization. Having the opportunity to work with TAT through a true partnership allowed us to learn how they have developed a practice that helps anyone, from any walk of life, find their place in the fight against trafficking. All organizations begin with the dream of making change, but some can get weighed down by the challenges they face or the complexity of their environment. TAT is a true change maker and will continue to be, because every team member works tirelessly with integrity, honesty, and humility. It has been an incredible journey walking with them these past few months.”

Among the findings of various studies, which can be found on TAT’s website:

  • In 2019, the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (NIMMIWG) was released and concluded that the trafficking of Indigenous women and girls isn’t new to Canada. Historically, they were bought and sold as slaves, and, in the 1880s, it was known that the North West Mounted Police were participating in the trafficking of Indigenous women. In that report, the Inquiry made 231 Calls for Justice. It also concluded that the acts of violence against Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people in Canada constitutes “genocide.” (NIMMIWG 2019).
  • The National Inquiry also noted that traffickers “go so far as to station themselves outside group homes or places where they know these potential victims might be” (NIMMIWG 2019: 661). Anti-trafficking efforts can target these same sites.
  • Once women and girls are trafficked, it takes “an average of three years and seven attempts” to successfully exit trafficking (Tracia’s Trust 2019: 21).
  • Because of negative experiences with police services, Indigenous women are often unwilling to report trafficking to the police (NIMMWG 2019: 629). It is important that Indigenous women and girls are recognized as victims and not blamed for the violence perpetrated against them.
  • In 2014 the Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF) reported that an estimated 50 percent of trafficked women and 51 percent of trafficked girls are Indigenous (CWF 2014: 32). Another study estimated that in Manitoba, 70 percent of visibly sexually exploited people are Indigenous, and 80 percent are female (Tracia’s Trust 2019).
  • In 2004, the majority of Canada’s human trafficking networks were located in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick (CISC 2004). In 2018, the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls also noted organized networks operating in “city triangles” in the Prairies, including networks between Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg, and between Calgary, Edmonton, and Saskatoon (NIMMIWG 2019: 565).
  • Indigenous women and girls, new immigrants, youth experiencing homelessness, and children in care are targeted by trafficking, because they are “socially and economically disadvantaged” (Government of Canada 2012: 6). In a process called ‘grooming,’ young women and girls are targeted and lured through strategic manipulation and false promises.

Emily Hanlon, senior policy advisor for VP-MMIWG, NWAC, commented, “Working with Truckers Against Trafficking has been both instructive and an absolute pleasure. Their approach changes hearts and minds and leads to action, and these are the kinds of people we want to work with! Their practical approach meant that our work together has been productive in so many ways. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to work with TAT, and we look forward to working with them in whatever ways we can!”

As a result of this partnership, NWAC has also introduced TAT to the following Canadian organizations who will help to inform TAT’s counter-trafficking efforts in Canada: Ma Mawi, the British Columbia Society of Transition Homes, Robson Valley Community Services and the Commercial Vehicle Security Enforcement.

Addressing Demand Watch Party provided resources for greater understanding

More than 60 people tuned into Facebook on March 18 for TAT’s first Addressing Demand Watch Party. The event included viewing TAT’s informative video addressing the demand for commercial sex and how it relates to human trafficking, followed by an open discussion moderated by Louie Greek, TAT training specialist, and Alan Smyth, executive director of Saving Innocence.

“I believe the event was successful in encouraging men to combat human trafficking by having the conversation to address the demand for commercial sex. Following the video, viewers dove deeply into the issue of what drives modern-day slavery, and then we discussed the steps guys can take, both personally and within their communities, to protect the most vulnerable,” Greek shared. “I have received emails from human trafficking task forces and community organizations interested in starting an ‘addressing demand’ campaign in their local communities.”

Smyth added, “If we can admit that men are the problem in the demand for commercial sex, then we are halfway there. Now we can be a part of the solution.”

One viewer commented, “I was brought up with the Neanderthal mentality. In my dating years it carried over. It wasn’t until years later, when I got involved in law enforcement, that I saw how misconstrued my younger years had been.”

Another viewer said, “Thank you, guys!! You give me hope for a brighter future!”

Greek and Smyth shared a number of resources for people wanting to educate others as well as dive deeper themselves:

Greek concluded, “If we want to protect our daughters, we need to have conversations with our sons.”

Justice Seekers series wraps up with final session focused on the social impact of buyers

TAT concluded its popular Justice Seekers series in mid-March, with the final session focused on buyer characteristics and behavior. The series, featuring expert panelists, was designed to deepen the understanding about victims of human trafficking. It also provided prosecutors and members of law enforcement practical steps on engaging with victims, best practices for undercover operations and case studies of human trafficking investigations.

In total, Justice Seekers conducted 10 events, with 1453 people either attending the sessions or receiving training through the recordings. Topics ranged from undercover human trafficking ops, human trafficking investigations, employing a victim-centered approach and bridging the gap with victims to rules of the game, the dos and don’ts of working with victims, types of traffickers and sex trafficking, buyers as discussed by a survivor leaders panel, demand-reduction operations as discussed by a law enforcement panel and types of buyers and their social impact.

Feedback from attendees was positive throughout the series, with comments like:

  • “Just wanted to say thank you. You guys rocked this! Would love to have this presentation back in Minnesota!” Bobbi Jo Pazdernik, Minnesota Bureau for Criminal Apprehension, Commander of the Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force
  • “Another GREAT presentation by TAT! Very informative about the different tactics being used by law enforcement agencies around the country. It sounds like ‘buying in’ to the victim-centered approach is critical to the success of human trafficking law enforcement operations … also having all your bases covered, such as how you’re going to deal with buyers, the traffickers and, most importantly, the victims, when planning and executing an operation.” Kimberly Hill, Indiana State Police

“We are thrilled to know that the recordings of our sessions are being passed along to other law enforcement officers and law enforcement academies throughout the nation,” TAT Deputy Director Kylla Leeburg said. “We’ve been told that several of them have been added into law enforcement academy curriculum as well as used as ongoing training for transportation enforcement professionals. We know that with more and deeper information on different aspects of human trafficking, law enforcement officers will be able to identify victims and perpetrators more readily, and people can be recovered out of this life.”

Trailblazers event highlighted innovative approaches being taken to combat human trafficking statewide

Open to a select group of key stakeholders, including representatives from Attorney Generals’ offices, state police, law enforcement leaders and representatives from state human trafficking task forces, TAT’s virtual Trailblazers event drew an audience of 116 interested in learning about innovative approaches to combating human trafficking statewide.

Panelists included:

  • Alison Phillips, director of the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force for the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, who shared about their Landlord Education Program (LEP), which is working to put illicit massage businesses out of commission.
  • Lieutenant Monty Lovelace, Nebraska State Patrol Carrier Enforcement Division, who described the extensive public-private partnerships they’ve forged to activate applicable stakeholders in anti-trafficking initiatives.
  • Bureau Chief Jay Levenstein, Commerical Vehicle and Driver Services, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, who spoke to the creation of their Highway Heroes Program, a model designed to reach every CDL holder in their state with the anti-trafficking message.

All three programs are highly replicable and have yielded concrete results in successfully fighting human trafficking in their state. During the one-hour session, panelists discussed implementation methods, key partner involvement and successful outcomes. They also provided a one-page paper with details and steps for replication.

Survey results following the event revealed:

  • 93 percent were interested in implementing one or more of these programs in their state.
  • 98 percent learned something new.
  • 100 percent would like to attend another event like this in the future.

Representative comments from participants included this remark from Christina Bain, director of the Initiative on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery at Babson College: “Thank you so much for this dynamic session and for your incredible efforts!”

“We were really pleased to see such a high turnout for this event” Esther Goetsch, TAT Coalition Build director and one of the event’s organizers, said. “It really underscores the importance of collaboration across the public and private sectors and the interest states have in developing successful statewide strategies to battle human trafficking.”

TAT NEWS FROM THE MARCH 2021 NEWSLETTER

ASAP Express & Logistics leads by example as it fundraises for TAT

As a company, ASAP Express & Logistics made a commitment to fight human trafficking, and they decided to lead by example. In January, National Human Trafficking Awareness Month (NHTAM), ASAP pursued their commitment by fundraising for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) and a Michigan-based charity called Hope Against Trafficking. Throughout the month, for every shipment sent by ASAP customers, ASAP made a $5 donation to Truckers Against Trafficking, Shipments from the top customer were matched to Hope Against Trafficking. By month’s end, customer shipments resulted in a $5,155 donation to TAT and over $1800 for Hope.

ASAP began their campaign last November by having their sales team mention the upcoming fundraiser to customers and advertising it through their digital channels. They also bought ad time on local radio stations in the Detroit area to bring awareness to human trafficking and the fundraiser. Throughout the campaign, they received positive reactions from their sales executives in the field, including other business leaders that they interacted with throughout the campaign. XPO, ASAP’s top customer, even featured the campaign on their site.

Joshua Eakle, ASAP Marketing and Business Development manager, said that “even during an international pandemic, law enforcement sources estimate there were at least 22,000 attempts to purchase women in Michigan in 2020. Not even a potentially life-threatening virus could prevent some men from exploiting women.” The team at ASAP believes that is unacceptable. John Cummings, ASAP CEO, always looking for new ways to support organizations fighting the scourge of trafficking, thought a fundraising campaign during NHTAM was a small way the company could help out.

“When I first heard about the tragedy that is human trafficking and the stories about little girls being tortured and raped, I was compelled to get involved to make a difference wherever I could. Owning a transportation company, Teaming up with Truckers Against Trafficking, allowed me as the owner of a transportation company to get involved nationally,” Cummings said. “Hope Against Trafficking allowed me to get involved locally and in a more personal way. On behalf of myself and the ASAP Team, we are and will remain committed to fighting and preventing this horrific crime wherever and however we can.”

“We are thrilled with this innovative and simple way ASAP created to fundraise for TAT,” said Laura Cyrus, TAT Corporate Engagement director. “We really hope it will inspire other companies to look at their own structure and processes and create some similar events. We’ve also got ideas for employee fundraisers on our website and invite companies to take a look.”

Laura Cyrus, TAT Corporate Engagement director, center, holds a ceremonial check representing the money raised by ASAP for TAT in its recent fundraiser.

Tune in to Facebook for TAT’s Addressing Demand Watch Party

People often wonder why there’s so much sex trafficking, so many victims. It’s a simple case of supply and demand. Demand creates the need for victims. But do you know what factors feed demand and how they can be controlled? Join TAT’s initial Facebook Watch Party on Addressing Demand March 18, from 4-5 p.m. (PT), to watch TAT’s informative video addressing the demand for commercial sex and how it relates to human trafficking. The video will be followed by an open discussion, moderated by Louie Greek, TAT training specialist, and Alan Smyth, executive director of Saving Innocence. To view a trailer of the video and fill out a registration form, click here. “Men don’t always realize how their actions and behaviors can fuel the demand for commercial sex,” Greek explained. “If you want to stand up against human trafficking, and if you want to protect our daughters, sisters, and mothers, then join other men on March 18, as we have a conversation to address this issue.”

Have you taken a virtual FDP tour …listened to a Driving Freedom podcast?

While there’s nothing like an in-person tour of the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) to experience the visceral impact of human trafficking, people can still reap the benefit of this unique mobile exhibit through virtual tours, while COVID restrictions on travel and gatherings remain in place. These tours can be personalized for your company or organization. Upcoming scheduled events include:
  • March 1-4: TAT’s Western Regional Truck Stop Training will share the FDP.
  • All of March: Walmart Women in Transportation SE Region are sharing the FDP tour, with Helen Hofer, FDP director, hosting a webinar on March 24.
  • May 10-14: Schneider Women’s Network will share a virtual FDP tour, with Susan Dold, TAT system administrator, speaking on May 11 at 11 a.m. CST.
Also available with vital human trafficking tips and information are TAT’s Driving Freedom podcast episodes. Drivers, especially, can turn these on about 30 minutes out from their destination and either learn something new or get a refresher on important items to remember. The latest podcast episodes posted are:
  • Victim Recovery with Professional Driver and Harriet Tubman Award Winner Arian Taylor
  • Empower Freedom with Kevin Ficke, Texas criminal investigator
  • On March 3: Pornography and Human Trafficking with Jake Roberson of NCOSE

“As our heroes are out on the road, we’re creating not only more tools for personal education but great tools for them to share with their company, friends and family, so we can exponentially grow those equipped to stop trafficking,” commented Hofer. “These resources will continue to benefit those hauling on our roadways for years to come. Both our Driving Freedom podcast and the virtual FDP tour bring our audience in contact with the real stories of human trafficking, so they know exactly what to look for and how to respond. When you get to hear directly from the experts and those who have experienced this reality, you gain a deeper level of understanding and urgency, knowing the actions you take could drastically change the lives of others.”

How does your state compare to others implementing TAT state-based elements?

Around the country, TAT works to activate law enforcement at every level to move states forward in the implementation of the components of the Iowa MVE (Motor Vehicle Enforcement) Model to increase awareness and combat human trafficking nationwide through the commercial trucking industry.

To date, 48 states ((31 fully and 17 partially) have adopted that model. The actions each state has taken so far can be viewed on this interactive map. In addition to the critical anti-trafficking elements adopted, implementation of the Iowa MVE Model has led to increased partnership opportunities for TAT, including Coalition Build (CB) and panel participation, undercover investigations, in-depth law enforcement training and increased introductions to other agencies.

Bi-annually, TAT sends out MVE state progress reports and asks contacts two questions: Is everything correct on the state report and do they need more materials.

“This month, we had a very eager response from several states who wanted to highlight all the extra ways they are raising awareness with TAT materials, the presentations they are giving, the outreach, the new Coalition Builds they’re in process of planning … some of them are lobbying hard to get more elements of the model coded in on the map,” said Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director. “These states, in particular, have already fully adopted the six core elements of the model; now they’re wanting all the extras they do to be noted. We ended up making changes to several state reports.”

She continued, “I think what we can glean from this is that law enforcement is ‘all in’ with their dedication, and they are seeking additional ways and getting very creative in making inroads to other entities with our materials. They aren’t satisfied with just stopping with our asks … they are going above and beyond. Well done!”

TAT NEWS FROM THE FEBRUARY 2021 NEWSLETTER

2020 TAT annual report recognizes the essential nature of our partners

In the 2020 TAT annual report, TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris sets the tone for the report by recognizing and applauding the essential nature of TAT’s partners in her letter. She writes:

Like everyone else on the planet, I am happy to put 2020 in the rearview. However, despite the extraordinary challenges it presented, including increased vulnerabilities for victims of human trafficking and those most susceptible to exploitation, the United States trucking industry must be lauded for their undeniable efforts to keep our country running.

Many Americans, some for the first time, quietly (or overtly) thanked a professional driver when they walked into their local grocery store and found re-stocked shelves or their hospitals and urgent cares equipped with the necessary resources for their treatment. Professional drivers were on the front lines hauling hand sanitizer, masks and PPE to millions all across the nation, and now they are faithfully ensuring the vaccine is getting where it needs to go.

In addition, truck stops remained open and worked to ensure that professional drivers had a safe place to park, refuel and be fed. Bus drivers faced health risks, and yet continued to go to work, ensuring that those who also had to work outside the home or get to school were transported safely. The energy industry, despite enormous challenges, fueled our nation … making certain that truck and bus drivers were able to fulfill their logistical missions.

In the midst of it all, this large, mobile army continued to make calls on behalf of those who needed it most. As you will read in the pages of this report, members of the truck, bus and energy industries were essential in combating human trafficking in 2020, alongside government officials, and, for that, we owe them a debt of gratitude.

Recently, I spoke with Jeff Davis, an Armed Forces veteran and a Delta Auto Transport driver with 22 years of experience out on the roads. This past August, Jeff made a call on behalf of a 16-year-old girl being sold for sex. It was 3:30 a.m. when she knocked on his door, and Jeff told me what roused him from bed was remembering the mother featured in our TAT training video and how she wept recounting how a call from a driver had helped bring her daughter back home. Jeff, who proceeded to get up, get dressed and leave his tractor to go find the girl, not only called the hotline on the girl’s behalf, but also local law enforcement, telling me, “That girl’s life is far more important than me getting a few hours of sleep.”

To Jeff Davis and all the truckers against trafficking out there on the roads … thank you for your service, thank you for your leadership and thank you for being our everyday heroes.

Be sure to check out the TAT 2020 annual report on our website. You can view the PDF here or the Flipbook version here.

TAT Canadian efforts to be spearheaded by committee

A newly formed and operating TAT Canada Committee (TCC) will work to expand TAT Canada’s reach and implementation by activating the networks, resources and expertise of its volunteer members. Committee members, including Kriska and UPS Canada, come from both public and private entities, including industry leaders, top carriers, major government transportation entities and crucial anti-trafficking voices in Canada, as TAT has found these partnerships integral to success.

TCC membership goals include a commitment to training and implementing additional TAT Canada action steps company-wide; identifying and working to obtain speaking opportunities at conferences and events for TAT Canada; and conducting direct outreach to each committee member’s sphere of influence, encouraging partnership with TAT Canada. TAT Canada will also work to see the Canadian Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Model (Canadian CVE) adopted by provinces and law enforcement to utilize entry points into the trucking and bus industries to spread the TAT anti-trafficking message. The Canadian CVE duplicates the Iowa MVE model TAT has successfully used in the United States.

The committee chair and co-chair are Heather Mewhinney and Caroline Blais, both from Kriska Transportation Group. For Kriska, Mewhinney is head of human resources, while Blais is recruiting manager.

TAT has been working to build relationships in Canada since 2019. It held a Coalition Build in Toronto that year, has benefitted from its American contacts, such as UPS, Pilot and Bridgestone, making introductions to their Canadian affiliates, has conducted its own research on Canadian trucking and law enforcement and has worked closely with the leadership of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) to raise awareness of human trafficking by introducing and promoting education to all students who enroll in a commercial truck driving course, and with the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC), who promoted TAT Canada to their membership. These efforts have resulted in trucking companies showing interest in providing TAT training and certification to all their employees. Fifteen companies, so far, have TAT Trained their drivers, with an additional two dozen more poised to implement training in 2021.

Calling all Everyday Heroes!

Some “everyday hero” deserves to be named this year’s winner of the TAT Harriet Tubman Award presented by Protective Insurance, complete with a $2500 check and a gala weekend at the Indy500. Is it someone in your company? Is it you? Is it someone you’ve heard about? Visit TAT’s Harriet Tubman Award page for specifics on the nomination process.

 

BOTL launches a new school-bus-focused training video as the program exceeds new milestones

As Busing on the Lookout (BOTL), TAT’s bus industry training and outreach program, kicks off its fourth year, the program’s reach and impact continue to grow. To date, BOTL has registered over 120,000 members of the bus industry as BOTL Trained and continues expanding its industry partnerships at all levels.

BOTL Program Specialist Lexi Higgins is overseeing the launch of a new BOTL training video specifically designed for school bus drivers. The video addresses the role these drivers play in the lives of the children they transport daily and features testimony from TAT Training Specialist and Survivor Leader Liz Williamson, who talks about the years she spent as a child victim of sex trafficking while attending school and riding the school bus daily.

As part of the launch of this new resource, BOTL hosted a national virtual training for pupil transportation, with more than 135 pupil transportation leaders from 29 states registered. Danny Papa, educator and president of the New Jersey Coalition of Human Trafficking, presented alongside Williamson and Higgins.

“As an educator who has worked for the last 10 years empowering young people to be the voice of change on this issue, it’s an honor to speak with members of school transportation,” Papa said. “Human trafficking can affect anyone, but everyone plays a role in preventing trafficking of all forms. Students could be sitting on your buses longer than they are sitting in the average classroom. That just shows how unique your role is in a school community and in the lives of students.”

To access BOTL’s new school bus driver-focused training video, visit https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/school-transportation/. Contact Lexi Higgins, BOTL program specialist, at lhiggins@truckersagainsttrafficking.org for more information.

In commemoration of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, BOTL hosted or co-hosted four national virtual trainings targeting transit agencies, casinos, motorcoach operators, and pupil transportation providers. In total, these events reached over 500 industry leaders from across the nation.

BOTL also partnered with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in January to host a national webinar on transit’s role in combating human trafficking. Over 260 transit leaders registered for this event to hear testimonials from survivor-leaders, an overview of the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority’s human trafficking initiative and updates from the Federal Transit Administration on its Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative. Following the session, Polly Hanson, APTA’s Senior Director for Security, Risk and Emergency Management, complimented all presenters and organizers, saying, “Words cannot express how powerful this session was. Your thoughtfulness and efforts working to create awareness, provide training and tips will be remembered and will have lasting impact on all of the webinar attendees.”

As part of its initiative to close loopholes to traffickers at the intersection between buses and casinos, BOTL is partnering with the American Gaming Association to host a webinar for their casino property members in February and worked with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, the Nevada Resort Association and the Nevada Trucking Association to host a virtual briefing on how buses, transit and casinos can work with law enforcement to help end human trafficking in Nevada. Over 160 industry, state agency and law enforcement representatives from Nevada signed up for the briefing to learn about efforts underway in their state and how they can access BOTL’s training resources for buses and casinos.

For regular updates on BOTL activities and progress, follow @BusingOTL on Facebook and Instagram.

TAT NEWS FROM THE JANUARY 2021 NEWSLETTER

TAT contributes to National Human Trafficking Awareness Month by participation in multiple educational activities

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month (NHTAM), and this year, TAT staff will either participate in or support various activities to educate and raise awareness at associations, businesses and organizations, many of which are TAT partners. They will also use Facebook Live interviews to celebrate past winners of the Harriet Tubman Award for their actions which have saved lives and/or prevented human trafficking from taking place.

NHTAM is a specific time set aside by presidential proclamation for everyone to educate themselves about human trafficking and how to spot the signs of trafficking. It’s also a time to spread that education to workplaces, churches, schools, government leaders and elsewhere.

The American Trucking Associations will host TAT at driver and management-focused webinars, as well as at one directed to the moving industry. The American Public Transportation Association, the Alabama Trucking Association, Phillips 66, Great West Casualty Company, Junior League, Infinity and others have invited TAT staff to make presentations this month to spotlight the crime of human trafficking and the steps individuals and industries can take to fight it.

Uber renewed their Silver Level TAT sponsorship this year and on Jan. 11 will be sending an email to their US Freight drivers about NHTAM and encouraging them to TAT Train. On Feb. 22, they’ll send a similar email to Uber Freight Canada drivers in honor of Canadian National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Every year, during NHTAM, law enforcement in four Midwestern states make a special education and awareness push with trucking and travel plazas, which they call the Quad State Initiative. This year, in addition to that activity, the Illinois State Police, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Indiana State Police and Michigan Police will join a number of other TAT law enforcement partners in January to fulfill or surpass one or more of “four TAT asks”:

  • Visit five truck stops/travel plazas with TAT materials, encouraging them to train.
  • Visit five trucking and/or bus companies with TAT or BOTL materials, encouraging them to train or offering to train them about human trafficking and conducting a brief training using our training video during January.
  • Visit bus terminals with BOTL materials, encouraging them to post awareness posters and train their employees.
  • In an area with a high concentration of oilfield or energy workers, share energy-specific resources as is fitting for those oilfield truckers or heavy equipment haulers.

These other partners include the Wyoming Highway Patrol, Minnesota State Police, Louisiana State Police, Colorado State Patrol, Kentucky State Police, North Dakota Highway Patrol, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Vermont DMV, New Jersey State Police, Wisconsin State Police, Public Service Commission of West Virginia, South Carolina Dept of Public Safety, Pennsylvania State Police and Michigan State Police.

“With the heightened awareness January provides around the issue of human trafficking, TAT maximizes its private and public partnerships by working together to reach even more individuals with counter-trafficking initiatives,” stated Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “Whether we’re offering additional training opportunities, seeing anti-trafficking-in-persons policies adopted, welcoming new partners to the fold, or supplying the materials for our state agency partners to systematically distribute them to our key market sectors, we want to take full advantage of the additional opportunities National Human Trafficking Awareness Month creates.”

Dentons law firm gives back to communities through pro bono service

Dentons logoLike many non-profit organizations, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) has a tight budget, used in the majority for the services it provides to advance its mission. Legal services are expensive, so when a law firm provides them pro bono, such as Dentons, it enables organizations like TAT to grow and flourish with the security of knowing its actions and communications are on firm legal footing.

With more people in more locations than any other firm in the world, Dentons is able to assist the communities it serves in pro bono matters, often providing in excess of 100,000 hours annually. TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal program, named Dentons the “2019 International Law Firm of the Year.” They were selected for the award in recognition of the breadth of their pro bono service to individuals in need, nonprofits, NGOs and social enterprises.

“TAT is a wonderful client to work with,” Gale Monahan, a partner at Dentons, remarked. “The organization is doing great things in our communities and improving the lives of so many people. I have really enjoyed getting to know the TAT team over the years, and I have learned a lot about human trafficking issues in the United States — something I admittedly had never thought much about before I was introduced to TAT. While finding the time to do pro bono work can be challenging for attorneys, it is well worth it when you find the right client.”

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, responded with gratitude, “Dentons’ contribution to TAT is undeniable. Whenever a legal question arises, I know Gale and his wonderful team will be there to answer it. As a non-profit, this type of pro-bono service and dedication is remarkable, as we wouldn’t be able to afford these resources on our own. It’s incredibly helpful to know a top-notch firm ‘has your back’ … we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

Bridgestone’s Chris Ripani joins TAT Board of Directors

Chris Ripani, president of Bridgestone’s Commercial Truck Division, including GCR Tires and Service, has been elected to serve on the Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) Board of Directors. He has been with Bridgestone for more than 20 years, serving in progressive leadership roles, including president of GCR, president of Speedco (formerly a Bridgestone company) and various roles in strategic sales, marketing and operations across the company’s commercial businesses.

“Truckers Against Trafficking is a fantastic organization with a laser-focused mission,” Ripani explained. “I’m excited to serve on the Board, as I’ve been working around the trucking industry for over 21 years and see a tremendous opportunity for deeper connections with suppliers, fleets and service providers in transportation.”

TAT begins 2021 with renewed sense of passion and purpose … and a huge gift from Prime, Inc.

Following a review of 2020’s accomplishments, including new partners and surpassing a million drivers registered as TAT Trained, and then participating in a strategic goal-setting exercise for the new year, TAT staff begin 2021 and activities for National Human Trafficking Awareness Month with a renewed sense of purpose and passion.

The end-of-year fundraiser provided $276,778 toward this year’s industry and law enforcement training needs in addition to costs of other TAT programs. “One of the most generous contributions toward our end-of-year fundraiser came from Prime Inc. via their $100,000 gift,” exclaimed Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “To say this gift blessed and amazed us is an understatement. In a year where funds were tight all the way around for most everyone, it is incredibly significant to have Prime leadership step up and prioritize charitable giving … we can’t thank them enough!”

prime inc logoIn a video, Prime Inc. announced their gift to TAT, as well as gifts to other charities, using funds they generally applied to employee celebrations. The video also emphasized the fact that they’ve TAT Trained all 15,000 of their drivers, and their employees love TAT. “The events that we host are not cheap, and the savings from not being able to provide these events to our associates are significant. It only made sense to evaluate the needs of the charities that we’ve worked with throughout the years and help on the behalf of our entire company,” said Robert Low, founder and CEO of Prime Inc.

The 2020 TAT annual report will be out soon, detailing, among other things, a number of incidents where trucker calls made the difference to victims and enabled law enforcement to apprehend perpetrators.

TAT NEWS FROM THE DECEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

Michigan State Police named TAT Champion Award winner in State Agency category

Major Mike Krumm received the TAT Champion Award in the State Agency category on behalf of the Michigan State Police (MSP) Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division (CVED). The award was presented by TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier during the opening ceremonies of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance virtual fall conference.

In presenting the award, Lanier labeled the MSP CVED “a stellar example” of what it means to be a TAT Champion. “After hearing TAT’s executive director speak at the MVCI many years ago, Major Krumm set to work adopting all the elements of the Iowa MVE Model in the state of Michigan, becoming the second state to achieve full implementation,” she related. “Major Krumm and his officers consistently visit trucking companies and other organizations/agencies with the TAT message. In 2016, they even presented to the Office of the Michigan Secretary of State, which led that office to display TAT posters, raising further awareness about human trafficking. Most recently, Officer Nathan Daughtery has taken a strong role of furthering TAT’s message to the bus industry in Michigan with our Busing on the Lookout training materials.”

MSP CVED collect data on their interdiction and inspection stops that turn into trafficking cases, and always follow up on tips from concerned citizens and truck drivers. They have been leaders on their regional initiative to combat human trafficking by helping to create, coordinate and participate in a Quad-State detail with their colleagues from Ohio State Highway Patrol, Illinois State Police and Indiana State Police. During the month of January, National Human Trafficking Awareness Month in the United States, these four state law enforcement groups work to raise awareness about human trafficking by blanketing the commercial vehicle industries in their state with TAT materials, presentations, etc.

MSP CVED has made training their officers on human trafficking a priority, and they work to encourage other state agencies throughout the United States to work with Truckers Against Trafficking, recognizing that a coordinated and unified effort provides the best chance of crippling human traffickers’ networks.

“The Michigan State Police is excited to be recognized as a TAT Champion Award winner for the year 2020! We are grateful for the partnership we have developed with TAT over the past six years, as together we fight the horrific crime of human trafficking,” Major Krumm stated.

Each year, TAT presents the TAT Champion Awards to recognize and honor the outstanding creative, innovative, generous and dedicated efforts of specific TAT organization, association and state agency partners, whose actions have significantly furthered the work of engaging more members of the industries TAT works with, as well as the efforts of more agencies and organizations within their state and the nation in the fight to end human trafficking and recover more survivors and prosecute more perpetrators.

TAT law enforcement trainings reap results

“When Annika and I train law enforcement officers, our hope and main goal is always to equip officers to both recognize victims of sexual exploitation and know how to engage with them in the best ways possible,” declared Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director. “We don’t always get to hear how our training plays out in the field, so hearing how Trooper Heard employed the victim-centered approach with victims after detecting that something was off and became an advocate for them — there is really nothing better. He, and other law enforcement officers who risk their lives daily to make our nation safer, inspire us in our work; and we know victims have the chance to become survivors and overcomers because of them.”

The two incidents below involve Illinois State Police (ISP) Trooper Zachary Heard. The first one occurred this year and the second one last year: On a routine traffic stop in Illinois, a 10-year-old boy was taken into protective custody and a middleaged man was arrested for sexual assault. Through personal experience and training he received through the TAT law enforcement training, ISP Trooper Zach Heard was able to legally build a case for prosecution. “TAT’s law enforcement training pulls the curtain back on a reclusive black market, with insight and details that can only be provided by survivors of the industry,” he stated.

In 2019, Trooper Heard was involved in another interdiction involving trafficking where TAT training came into play. He pulled over a pickup on a traffic violation with a male driver and a female passenger. The passenger appeared trying to make herself small, as if she were distancing herself from the truck and driver. During his conversation with the driver, Trooper Heard noticed some drug paraphernalia and proceeded to search the vehicle, where he discovered a large quantity of narcotics. He called in the narcotics detectives, who took over the arrest and the search and confiscation of the vehicle.

Trooper Heard then spoke with the adult female, who had a large tattoo in Spanish covering her forearm. While Trooper Heard spoke Spanish, he discovered the victim did not. She tried to explain away the tattoo with a convoluted explanation, which led Trooper Heard to suspect human trafficking. He continued to speak with her in a very non-judgmental way, using a victim-centered approach and offering to help her and connect her with resources. While she broke down crying a couple times, she refused services.

Trooper Heard offered her a ride somewhere. She asked to go to an ATM and then to a hotel for the night before figuring out her way home. He continued to talk with her, expressing concern and offering services. They exchanged numbers, and he told her to call if she needed anything or if she wanted to testify against the driver she’d been with.

TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier said Trooper Heard called TAT a couple days later saying he believed the woman was very close to accepting help and “wondered if we could speak with her.” Lanier asked Trooper Heard to call this young woman back and ask her if she would be willing to have her number shared with Annika Huff, TAT training specialist and survivor-advocate. “Not only did she answer the phone when Trooper Heard called, revealing that he’d established rapport and trust,” related Lanier, “but she agreed to speak with Annika once he explained who she was. Annika and the young woman talked, and, at the conclusion of the call, she asked Annika to find out resource providers in her home state. Annika was able to do that, and they had another conversation when she passed on the service providers in that area.”

Survivor-advocate Liz Williamson joins TAT as field trainer

Liz Williamson, a survivor of human trafficking who works as a survivor-advocate based in Northern California, is the newest member of the TAT team. As a TAT training specialist, she will make presentations to a variety of audiences, engage with the trucking industry in Canada and handle some administrative duties.

Williamson has done direct service work with survivors at the local, regional and national level. For the past decade, she has trained and spoken nationally to audiences regarding her survival of familial trafficking to help dispel the myths surrounding this topic and to empower individuals to help make a difference. She has also trained medical professionals with Dignity Health to identify victims seeking to receive medical services, with special attention given to what the medical community missed or was unable to assist her with during her trafficking experience. Williamson is a member of the Survivor Leadership Institute through GEMS. With a bachelor’s in English Literature and a flair for all things creative, she enjoys communicating and creating. Williamson passionately believes that survivors deserve the opportunity to use their experiences to rewrite their stories and their futures. “I’m glad to be working for TAT, because of the ability to train and educate so many. Somewhere there is a victim waiting to be seen, and those drivers will be prepared,” she said.

Say ‘Goodbye’ to 2020 with an act of generosity

Editorial note from the TAT staff: No one argues that 2020 has been a year without equal – one for the books, as they say – and not one anyone cares to repeat. But it’s also been a year where people have shown remarkable heroism, unselfish commitment at personal risk to support others and the grit to endure much hardship, loss and grief, while continuing to work steadily to provide life-saving care, resources and supplies to needy, hurting people.

“Despite the hardships this year has brought, so many of our industry partners have been serving on the frontlines, while continuing to make calls on behalf of the exploited,” shared Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “To all of the truckers against trafficking out there … thank you for what you do!”

TAT has recently received a $100,000 matching grant gift from Berger North, and we would love your contribution toward this matching grant to close out this year with a bang and begin 2021 on a clear note of optimism. Use your donation toward this matching grant to say thank you to:

  • The truckers who used their vehicles to bring personal protective gear and hand sanitizer to tens of thousands of frontline workers
  • The truckers who kept grocery store shelves stocked and delivered millions of packages to people confined to their homes
  • The truck stop employees who worked to keep transportation fueled and moving
  • The school bus drivers who used their buses to deliver meals to kids in need from the schools they served
  • This mobile army of transportation professionals who have kept their eyes and ears open for trafficking along the way

TAT’s 2020 annual report, due for release in the first quarter of 2021, will not only give a detailed impact report of the year but also recognize the essential contribution of our transportation and energy partners.

TAT NEWS FROM THE NOVEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

Toyota proves company-to-company communication essential to growing mobile army in fight against trafficking

Word of mouth may seem casual, but it often produces major impact. Toyota Motor North America recently became a TAT shipping partner, having first heard of TAT last year from Accelerated Logistics Auto Transport and Moore Transport, TAT supporters and Toyota carrier partners. As a result, Toyota has already:

  • Trained its more than 110 employees in the Toyota Transport private fleet with TAT materials and outfitted their trucks with the TAT window decal.
  • Surveyed carrier partners to inquire about their participation in the TAT program and their use of TAT materials (such as the wallet card and decal).
  • Recommended to their carrier partners that they become involved with the TAT effort, using their quarterly service reviews to engage in this discussion.
  • Committed to encouraging non-participating carriers to get connected to TAT.

Through Toyota’s discussions with their carrier partners, a top 100 company has already called TAT and is committing to train their private fleet immediately.

“Toyota’s two pillars are Respect for People and Continuous Improvement, and we’re committed to actively engaging in our communities to improve lives for all. So, partnering with Truckers Against Trafficking to work toward eliminating human trafficking felt like a natural fit,” explained Missy Pearlman, group manager, TLS Vehicle Transportation Operations.

Keep human trafficking on the front burner with TAT’s Driving Freedom podcast

Looking for an easy way to keep the issue of human trafficking in front of employees and/or association or organization members?

TAT’s new Driving Freedom podcast is a helpful training tool to maximize learning-on-the-go for the busy members of the trucking, bus and energy industries. Each short episode, most between 15-20 minutes in length, is designed to refresh critical issues learned to keep this life-saving information top of mind.

Current podcast episodes include the Victim-Centered Approach with Annika Huff, Addressing Demand with Alan Smyth, The “Life”, Vulnerabilities and a Better Way Out with Christine Mcdonald, How TAT Got Started and Conspiracy Theories.

“We recognize that this mobile army of eyes and ears is constantly on the go,” stated Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “Our new podcast is the perfect training tool to listen to about 30 minutes before you make your next stop. From survivors of sex trafficking describing what life for them was really like to addressing how the issue of demand fuels the sex trade, this podcast provides a content-rich, mini-refresher course on the realities of human trafficking and how to effectively combat it in the course of your everyday job.”

To become a distribution point of these podcasts for your company employees or your association or organization members, contact Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, here to discuss options. Methods currently being used by companies to distribute include linking TAT’s podcast to theirs, promoting it via an email blast to all drivers, putting it in their newsletter, sharing it via screens in terminals and introducing it during sales calls. Share these podcasts within your sphere of influence as well, so people continue to grow in their understanding of this crime and what they can do to combat it.

Take the Freedom Drivers Project general tour or ask for a customized tour for your company

Been waiting for the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) to arrive in your neighborhood or workplace to experience its incredible imagery and the powerful truth it conveys about human trafficking? Wait no longer! You and your employees can take a free virtual tour via your tablet or computer.

Recently, through the generosity of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), and, in particular, Elisabeth Barna, ATA COO and TAT board member, leaders at the ATA Management Conference and Exhibition, held in October, had the opportunity to take the FDP virtual tour, available through a virtual booth. TAT staff members have attended the conference in the past.

The FDP virtual tour was also available at the Birmingham, Alabama and New Mexico Coalition Builds in October, and will be part of the North American Transportation Services Association conference early this month.

Featuring comprehensive exhibits, the FDP is a dynamic, visual tool demonstrating both the reality and devastation of trafficking through facts and survivor artifacts, as well as the critical role transportation and energy members are playing in combating this crime. It lends itself well to a virtual tour during these times.

View and share the condensed tour and/or email Helen Hofer here to design an event specific to your team. To further enhance the experience, schedule an in-depth anti-trafficking training webinar led by a TAT staff for your virtual event.

Virtual Coalition Build in New Mexico highlighted participation of energy industry in combating human trafficking

Featuring updated training modules, a virtual Coalition Build (CB) held on Oct. 28 drew 70 people from more than 28 entities from the energy industry, including operators, service companies and organizations from New Mexico, Texas and Colorado. The event was sponsored by Marathon Oil and co-hosted by Marathon and Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), with the intent of engaging the energy companies working on the New Mexico side of the Permian Basin.

On a follow-up survey, one of the participants wrote, “We often don’t think about everything and everyone that comes with trafficking. This was such an eye-opener to understanding what needs to be thought through and how we can make an effective impact in all areas.”

A TAT partner, Marathon Oil joined the Oil and Gas Trafficking Awareness Group (OGTAG) in 2018 and began implementing their antitrafficking initiative internally in January 2020. That month, they also led the members of OGTAG in Marathon’s first signature event, Energy Empowers Freedom Week, in which TAT participated with presentations and Freedom Drivers Project tours. This event resulted in more than 1,000 energy employees across Houston receiving awareness training about human trafficking.

Mary Ellen Weyland, community engagement lead for Marathon Oil, told CB participants that “no industry is immune to trafficking, and this is not an energy-specific issue. But we wanted to use the reach and scale of our companies to bring awareness to an issue that has unfortunately experienced a surge around the country. We hope you now have a better understanding of the issue and what you can do to help keep our community safe. Just like we did with safety, and like we’re doing with environmental performance, we know that when we come together as an industry, we can create real, positive change.”

“This Coalition Build serves as an excellent opportunity to work with TAT’s longtime and new partners to expand the fight against human trafficking,” said Ashley Smith, TAT director of Energy Operations. “With a recently updated Empower Freedom training DVD and an easy-touse toolkit – both available on the TAT website, our attendees have the resources they need to engage their employees in this important work.”

TAT NEWS FROM THE OCTOBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

TAT celebrates National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

Every September, the trucking industry celebrates National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. This year, with the intensified role truckers have played throughout the Covid-19 pandemic keeping grocery store shelves stocked, getting PPE supplies to needy healthcare workers and police and fire departments around the country and bringing goods of all kinds to homebound people ordering online, the gratitude for their work is even greater than normal.

TAT provided a week of donated giveaways to truckers on its Facebook page, with prizes including Camo Elite and Pro Combat Blue Tiger headsets, Tony Justice CDs, Motel 6 vouchers, TAT t-shirts and beanies and $25 gift cards for Subway and Visa.

In addition to their work keeping America moving, truckers have also been vigilant keeping an eye out for any human trafficking taking place, as can be seen in this story which occurred in the second quarter of 2020:

A truck driver contacted the hotline after being approached by a minor potential victim to engage in commercial sex. The driver gave the minor food and some money, asking if she needed help. She indicated she did not. The driver then observed the minor approach the potential trafficker, who pointed the girl in the direction of other trucks parked in the lot. The truck driver noted that the minor appeared to be afraid of the potential trafficker. The truck driver was still at the location; the hotline asked the driver to call 911 to see if they could send an officer to the location while the minor was still there. The driver confirmed with the hotline that law enforcement was going to send an officer. The hotline then followed up with reports to law enforcement contacts and CPS.

“This case illustrates the care and compassion drivers have for victims of human trafficking,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “This driver did everything possible to help this child. Sometimes it’s going to work out well and a recovery will occur, and sometimes the fear of the trafficker and the coercive methods used prove too great. However, I imagine this victim will remember the humanity and kindness she was shown by this driver, and who knows how it may help lead to her recovery later on down the line. This story is such a testament to all the amazing truckers against trafficking out there … keeping America moving and doing their part to help end the heinous crime of human trafficking. Thank you.”

TAT to present online truck stop training event in October

Due to the importance of truck stop and travel plaza owners, managers and employees in the fight against human trafficking, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is offering a free, one-hour, live online training designed especially for them on Oct. 8, from 11 a.m.-noon (CST). This virtual training includes:

  • Dispelling myths of human trafficking
  • Intersections between the truck stop/travel plaza industry and human trafficking
  • Human trafficking survivor presentation by a TAT Training Specialist
  • How to take a victim-centered approach
  • Action steps for being part of the solution

“TAT has been working with the truck stop and travel plaza industry for many years, seeking to engage management through training opportunities at the Coalition Builds (CB) and by encouraging them to use TAT training for all employees,” said Esther Goetsch, CB director. “We have built some strong partnerships in this industry over the years but have always struggled to reach the thousands of independently owned or regionally owned and operated locations. People in this industry work long, hard hours and have difficulty getting away from their stores to attend an in-person training. We believe this training will fill that gap, and you can register for it here.”

This month, the CB team has scheduled five events:

Oct. 1 — Louie Greek presents to the Central Missouri Human Trafficking Task Force

Oct. 8 — Louie Greek and Annika Huff, TAT training specialists, present at the TAT virtual truck stop and travel plaza training event

Oct. 20 — Esther Goetsch, CB director, presents at Infinity, the League to Aid Abused Children and Adults

Oct. 22 — TAT team presents at the Alabama virtual Coalition Build

Oct. 28 — Ashley Smith, TAT director of Energy Operations, presents at the New Mexico virtual Coalition Build

UPS drivers make video spreading the word about TAT

A group of UPS drivers are going the extra mile to encourage their coworkers to learn more about human trafficking and TAT. And it’s working! In three weeks’ time, their video has been viewed by almost 400 people.

Spearheaded by Paul Barnes of UPS CACH and Wayne Ponschke, UPS Southern California District, the group, composed additionally of Jim Alvarez of UPS CACH, Titus Wamai of UPS Wisconsin, Ryan Ybarra of UPS Ontario and Marcy Drake of UPS CACH Arizona, created a video, among other measures, to bring greater “awareness of a global issue not typically seen by everyday drivers,” Ponschke explained. “The more people we can get to recognize the signs of human/sex trafficking, the more lives we can save.”

Additionally, the drivers brainstormed and worked together to:

  • Create a Wall of Fame TAT Certification Board, a bulletin board with flyers, cards, and brochures and whiteboard signage with pamphlets, flyers, cards, and goodie bags
  • Tweet training info and recognize newly certified members on social media
  • Make starter kits for anyone interested in human trafficking training
  • Place info at rest stops and truck stops
  • Make goodie bags that included TAT info and wallet cards
  • Place a wallet card in 250 package delivery vehicles
  • Place posters in locker rooms, break rooms and rest rooms
  • Have one-on-one discussions with fellow drivers, colleagues, and friends

These measures are up and running at UPS Southern California District, but other locations are following suit.

“It’s an issue happening right in front of us, and we all need to be able to recognize the signs of this worldwide atrocity,” said Barnes.

“When drivers become personally invested in this battle, we find their energy is contagious. We love the ways in which UPS drivers are raising awareness among their coworkers and circles of influence,” said Helen Hofer, Freedom Drivers Project director.

Quality Distribution, Inc. expands TAT partnership with payroll deduction option for employees

Quality Distribution, Inc. (QDI) and its wholly owned subsidiaries, Quality Carriers (QC) and Boasso Global, are long-time partners of Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), through corporate sponsorships and donating hauls to the Freedom Drivers Project. In 2020, QDI took its partnership to the next level by providing employees with an opportunity to contribute directly to TAT via payroll deductions.

“We give to several charities throughout the year, but we wanted to find a charity that aligned with our industry to unite behind as a company,” explained Melissa Ernst, senior vice president of Human Resources and Driver Services for QDI. “In 2019, we invited TAT to speak at our locations with the largest number of employees on-site. We were deeply affected by TAT’s presentation and the stories we heard and wanted to do more to help. In our annual benefits open enrollment process for 2020, we included a voluntary election, allowing employees to contribute to TAT through payroll deductions. Employees have the opportunity to change or stop their election at any time. We also provide this opportunity to contribute to every new employee who joins our organization.

“After TAT spoke in 2019,” Ernst continued, “many of our employees commented that they were pleased the company is involved with an organization like TAT. From time to time, TAT will ask for QDI employee volunteers to help staff different events, and we always see a number of our employees eager to participate. That’s the power of TAT’s mission and story. It’s impactful on employees, and they deeply appreciate the opportunity to be involved and make a difference.”

QDI looks forward to continuing its partnership with TAT.

TAT NEWS FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

Virtual Coalition Builds prove popular in pandemic environment

With Covid-19 restrictions still in place, TAT’s Coalition Build (CB) program has pivoted to virtual bridge events, with the first two held in August. Hosted by partners in the Washington, DC area and the other by partners in Pennsylvania, each CB attracted more than 100 participants. These 90-minute online events feature a Human Trafficking 101 session, led by the Attorney General’s office, a survivor perspective by a TAT field trainer, an expert law enforcement panel and breakout sessions for each industry sector to discuss training options and strategies for working together locally.

Many of the outcomes of these events include future virtual speaking opportunities for TAT at industry events, conferences, and human trafficking task force meetings, such as:

  • The Prince George Human Trafficking Task Force invited TAT to speak at its virtual conference in January and plan to distribute and encourage training with TAT’s Law Enforcement Training video and TAT’s Addressing Demand video.
  • The American Public Transportation Association agreed to host a human trafficking awareness webinar with Busing On The Lookout (BOTL) in late 2020.
  • The Rhode Island Trucking Association is featuring TAT in their upcoming newsletter and encouraging members to become TAT trained.
  • Three more virtual coalition builds are being planned for Fall 2020.

“Even though the original in-person coalition was canceled, thank you for not canceling the conference all together,” commented Corporal Zena Black from the Pennsylvania State Police. “This was a great opportunity to learn from other resources, even a resource in my own department I was completely unaware of!”

“We need more innovative approaches like TAT to identify and respond to human trafficking, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault. Finding new ways to partner with stakeholders who might come in contact with the victims of these crimes would help prevent continued abuse,” opined K. Tony Korol-Evans, Ph.D., a statewide trainer for the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence.

One hundred percent of participants that filled out the survey following the meeting said they plan to share the information they learned with their company/agency/organization and will strive to take a victim-centered approach with any potential victims they encounter.

Until in-person events can resume, TAT’s CB program will continue to hold virtual bridge events that convene stakeholders across the country in an attempt to close loopholes to traffickers.

TAT releases new state agency toolkit

TAT’s latest training item, a new toolkit for state agencies, guides them on the steps they can take to equip their employees to combat human trafficking when it does arrive at their location, including how they can partner with TAT to implement anti-human trafficking training and policies in their operations.

Designed for those agencies intersecting with commercial vehicle license holders, such as Departments of Transportation (DOT), Departments of Licensing (DOL), Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Departments of Revenue (DOR), the toolkit can be used in conjunction with TAT’s stateagency-specific webinar. That webinar is also cited as a useful tool in the final report of the US Department of Transportation Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking on how state agencies can partner with all modes of transportation in combating human trafficking.

“Representatives from different state agencies are often present at Coalition Builds,” said Esther Goetsch, TAT Coalition Build director. “Recognizing the key role these agencies play in the local community and that their employees might intersect with victims of human trafficking as they issue licenses or interact with the traveling public, it is imperative to train these employees on the issue. To that end, TAT created this toolkit to provide information on how agency personnel might intersect with a potential victim, specific red flag indicators to be looking for, training recommendations, case studies and best practices for agencies to consider in developing an anti-trafficking strategy.”

Driving Goodness Campaign highlights TAT/UPS partnership

As part of the Driving Goodness Campaign of Vomela Companies and in recognition of the United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Humans, TAT and UPS took part in a virtual event on July 30 to discuss how companies could use their supply chains to effect change and help aid law enforcement in the discovery and disruption of human trafficking networks across North America.

Rich McCardle, president of UPS Freight, and Nicole Clifton, vice president of global public affairs for UPS, joined Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, to discuss the “whys and hows” of the UPS partnership with TAT, which began in 2016, and which has included certifying 100,000 UPS drivers in the U.S. with TAT training. UPS also uses its influence throughout the trucking industry, and the enthusiasm of its employees to fight this crime, to raise awareness of human trafficking and encourage other companies to become TAT trained.

TAT has been working to raise up a mobile army of transportation professionals to fight human trafficking since its inception, and to date, has trained more than 922.000 people. Trucker calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline alone have been responsible for generating hundreds of cases, identifying more than 1300 victims. If 911 calls by truckers were added in, which no one tracks nationally, the numbers would probably be much higher.

In order to reach as many fleets and truckers as possible, TAT looks for every commercial intersection available with trucking. It started the TAT Shipping Partners Program (SPP) several years ago to leverage pre-existing relationships between shippers and their carriers to train even more drivers. As the customer of trucking carriers, shippers are able to use their influence to help make suppliers aware of human trafficking and how they can become part of the solution.

To give shippers and manufacturers a quick overview on becoming a TAT SPP participant and activating their supply chains for social change, TAT recently completed a three-page document – a condensed toolkit –that outlines the basics on the crime and the steps companies can take to engage with TAT and the transportation professionals they work with in combating it. This document can be obtained by contacting Laura Cyrus at lcyrus@truckersagainsttrafficking.org.

Take your employees on a Freedom Drivers Project Virtual Tour

Looking for a new tool to bring training alive for your employees? Now you can bring the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) to your workplace for a virtual event! Experience its incredible imagery and the powerful truth it conveys about human trafficking any time, any place, via your phone, tablet or computer. The FDP is a dynamic, visual tool demonstrating both the reality and devastation of trafficking through facts and survivor artifacts, as well as the critical role the transportation and energy industries are playing in combating this crime. Preview our new virtual tour now.

To further enhance the experience, schedule TAT staff to host a webinar along with the tour. We can work with you to create a memorable and impactful training event. Interested? Send an email to hvandam@truckersagainsttrafficking.org today!

TAT NEWS FROM THE AUGUST 2020 NEWSLETTER

Officer credits TAT training for helping her recognize
potential human trafficking

When the 18-wheeler rolled over the scale in mid-June at the Fort Collins, Colorado Port of Entry, Officer Jeanay Angel began what turned out to be anything but a routine inspection stop.

Almost immediately, she noticed the passenger in the truck looked significantly younger than the driver. Having recently completed the Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) in-depth law enforcement human trafficking training, she took this as a suspicious sign and pulled the truck in to verify the passenger authorization required by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration and to talk to both parties in the truck.

“In addition to the age difference between the passenger and driver,” she explained, “I parked the truck, because the girl appeared to be no visible relation to the driver and the tattoo on her neck, from a distance, looked like a barcode … like you typically find on food.”

The driver, who came into the office, had the necessary authorization and stated that the girl, who was almost 30 years younger, was his girlfriend of a few months. Angel asked if she could talk to the girl and was given permission.

“I typically do my interviews one on one,” Angel said, “so I have practice there, but, with this contact, she said everything that’s taught in the human trafficking classes about what survivors go through or what the traffickers use against them or prey on to convince the survivor to stay.” The girl, who was covered in tattoos, stated she was an out-of-work model, was broke and had cut all her own hair off, because she was depressed following her dog’s death. Angel asked her several times if she was okay, felt safe and wanted help, and the girl declined to give a clear answer.

The IDs of both the driver and passenger were clean in Colorado’s law enforcement database, so Angel told them they could go. The driver brought up human trafficking in conversation and said he thought it was a theory and scam, that he had a party bus in Oklahoma and had never been in trouble.

After they left, Angel still believed “none of it felt or sounded right,” so she ran their IDs through a national database and found an outstanding arrest warrant from Oklahoma on the driver for child sexual abuse.

“It was very hard to have the knowledge and training I’ve had and not be able to do anything about it without the help of the passenger,” Angel recalled. “It was also emotional for me to have had the attitude the driver displayed, the indicators from the passenger, and then to find out about his warrant after they left.”

She continued, “After learning about the warrant, my first step was to contact the first port they would be in contact with next in Wyoming, even though, based on the time, they most likely had passed already. I had no idea they would take my information so seriously to put out a BOLO for the truck. I hated to have to admit my mistake that I let them go, but if I wouldn’t have, he would have gotten away and she would still have been in the truck.” After contacting Wyoming troopers, Angel alerted TAT. TAT confirmed the arrest warrant in Oklahoma and also spoke with Wyoming Highway Patrol, who stopped the truck, arrested the driver and worked with Oklahoma to extradite him. Additionally, TAT made a number of other contacts to law enforcement and trucking entities to alert the driver’s company in another state of what was occurring.

“Once getting out the information to both Wyoming and TAT,” Angel stated, “finding out how many agencies were contacted from there was honestly so relieving and heartwarming. Also, getting updates frequently from different officers so I wasn’t left hanging showed they know what it’s like to have a situation like this and never getting updates.”

Using a victim-centered approach, the Wyoming State Patrol paid for a hotel room for the girl for the night, and while she said the driver hadn’t harmed her, both TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier, who provides law enforcement training, as well as members of law enforcement involved in the case, believe the girl was being groomed for trafficking. Lanier counseled the girl regarding warning signs and future involvement with “her boyfriend.”

Angel credits TAT training for knowing what she was looking at and what to do. “Without the law enforcement training and seminars put on by TAT,” she said, “I wouldn’t have been able to identify a potential victim and exploiter. Everything TAT teaches on what a victim says or does was exactly what I experienced with this young lady. With TAT’s input, we were able to contact a total of four agencies to help get her out of the situation and hopefully change her life.”

Tennessee completes school bus driver training with BOTL; Kentucky working on same

Using the recently completed digital school bus drivers training kit, supplied through Busing on the Lookout (BOTL), Tennessee has finished training all school bus drivers and daycare front-line workers statewide. “The addition of the School Bus Drivers on the Lookout for Human Trafficking training has been a great experience,” said Tennessee Highway Patrol Lieutenant Ray Robinson, director of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement/Pupil Transportation. “This course has empowered almost 15,000 school bus and daycare front-line workers to help Tennessee’s most valuable resource at what could be their most vulnerable time. The course had excellent reviews throughout Tennessee. The most telling of all reviews are the school districts who have made this training part of their local curriculum.”

Tennessee will continue using the training as a part of their curriculum during the 2020-21 school year. Kentucky has set a goal of training 14,000 pupil transportation staff, including directors of transportation, driver trainers, and inspectors, statewide by the end of the summer. So far, approximately 10 percent have reported training completion. Many districts are still in the process of training, while schools are opening a bit later than normal this year.

Elisa Hanley, branch manager of Pupil Transportation at the Kentucky Department of Education, commented, “This training is important, because our drivers are the first people to see these students in the morning and the last to see them in the afternoon. Unlike many of the school staff, bus drivers know the living conditions of so many students. They know when something doesn’t look right, and they know who belongs at the bus stops. As mandated reporters for the state, it’s important for them to know and understand what to look for. Human trafficking is happening in our state, just like every other state in the nation. These drivers may see something and may just save a life in a way they never thought of.”

Energy industry continues to train to fight human trafficking

With Covid-19 curtailing in-person presentations, members of the energy industry have hosted TAT in the past few weeks for online presentations on fighting human trafficking. Whiting Petroleum made TAT’s Empower Freedom program the topic of a safety moment presentation for 193 employees with Ashley Smith, TAT’s director of energy operations, providing a recap of what human trafficking is and detailing how Covid-19 is impacting the issue. Smith also provided actionable tips to parents for keeping children safe online.

Smith gave a full Empower Freedom webinar to Ovintiv Oil and Gas employees in both Canada and the U.S., training those who attended training about human trafficking, TAT’s mission and the particulars of the Empower Freedom program. The webinar was posted to Ovintiv’s corporate intranet.

Smith also presented at the ConocoPhillips Bakken Employee Forum July 22 to more than 90 attendees. At this forum, similar to a townhall, she talked about what human trafficking is, the means traffickers use, the impact of Covid-19 on trafficking and the Empower Freedom training. She said attendees showed strong interest in the topic and training throughout the following Q&A session.

“While we may not be traveling, we’re still able to reach a wide cross section of industry employees through these virtual presentations,” Smith stated. “Online, I have provided critical information to industry members in Texas, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and Canada. I believe the questions and discussions coming out of these presentations show great interest in engaging in the fight and this is exciting for the growth of the Empower Freedom program.”

TAT NEWS FROM THE JULY 2020 NEWSLETTER

Driver donates proceeds of tractor/trailer sale to TAT

An owner/operator truck driver has sold both his tractor and trailer and donated the entire proceeds — $80,000 – to Truckers Against Trafficking. The tractor, a 2015 Peterbilt 579, with an 80″ sleeper, and Great Dane trailer were listed on Truck Paper .

“We are amazed by the generosity of this professional driver,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “To sell and donate the entire proceeds of both tractor and trailer to TAT — especially in the midst of a pandemic — is above and beyond. He and his wife have our heartfelt thanks, as their donation will certainly help further the TAT mission in a significant way.”

The professional driver, who prefers to remain anonymous, has been generous to TAT over the years. His gift provides an example of what others can do if they have used equipment or property to sell and want the proceeds from those items to make a difference in the lives of others.

Audience feedback positive on Justice Seekers survivor panel discussion

Justice Seekers, a one-hour, monthly webinar series for law enforcement, featuring expert panelists covering a variety of topics, held its first discussion on June 16, led by four survivor-leaders. Beth Jacobs, Sula Skiles, Liz Williamson and Annika Huff shared both their experiences and interactions with more than 125 law enforcement officers and other professionals. They also gave their best advice on how to engage with survivors.

“I want to thank you for your courage and willingness to share your stories in order to help me understand what is taking place throughout the country,” commented Captain James Thomas of the Wyoming Highway Patrol. “Your experiences have helped me understand how to better approach potential victims and to focus my efforts on developing a rapport and showing more compassion. Thank you again!”

This series is designed to deepen understanding about victims of human trafficking, give practical steps on how to engage with them, present best practices for undercover operations and share case studies of human trafficking investigations.

Due to the sensitive nature of some of the material discussed, not all of the panel discussions will be recorded and available at later dates. Therefore, it is best to plan on attending on the scheduled dates and times of the webinars.

If you are a law enforcement officer and did not receive an email with registration links and would like to attend one of the next webinars, please send us an email at tat.truckers@gmail.com.

Digital toolkits available for bus, transit and trucking; others in production

Truckers Against Trafficking has released new digital toolkits to aid trainers in the bus, transit and trucking sectors of the transportation industry when providing human trafficking training.

The toolkits define human trafficking, discuss the stages of the crime, provide the intersections these industry sectors have with human trafficking, detail the signs that human trafficking is taking place as well as give information on the human trafficking hotlines for both Canada and the United States. Additionally, they highlight best practices, offer simple lesson plans and share case studies.

“BOTL created these toolkits for bus and transit as a direct response to what we were learning from our industry partners in transit and pupil transportation,” explained BOTL Director Annie Sovcik. “For transit agencies looking to launch an anti-human trafficking initiative to the student transportation directors wanting to educate their drivers on how to be on the lookout for signs of trafficking among the children on their buses, these toolkits provide step-by-step guidance for management.”

TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris added, “For years CDL instructors and safety directors have been implementing our training inside classrooms. We wanted to create a helpful tool that not only assists a company in creating a comprehensive anti-trafficking protocol, but also provides instructors with a step-by-step lesson plan to guide the training process.”

Upcoming toolkits currently being created are for energy, travel plazas/truck stops and state agencies working with transportation. Completed toolkits are found on the TAT website under Resources/TAT materials.

TAT Coalition Build program continues working with select audiences and teams to close loopholes to traffickers

As public health concerns around large group gatherings continue, TAT’s Coalition Build (CB) program has constructed a virtual bridge-event option until in-person CBs can resume. This summer, TAT will be co-hosting an online bridge event with the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia and the American Trucking Association.

While the exact date of the event is still undetermined, this 90-minute, live, online event will feature a Human Trafficking 101 led by the DC Attorney General’s Office, a survivor testimony, a law enforcement panel that will discuss actual case studies and trends they are seeing locally and, finally, breakout sessions for the trucking and bus industries. During the breakout sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about industry-specific training, targeted action steps and ways law enforcement and industry can create a local response to combat human trafficking. For more information about this event, click here:

Additionally, the Coalition Build team has been working on a campaign to connect with state and regional human trafficking task forces across the country to resource transportation providers and law enforcement with TAT materials in areas where TAT is working to build connections. To date, the CB team has generated 23 opportunities for engagement, which include introductions to transit providers, the distribution of TAT’s law enforcement video and anti-demand resources, strategic planning of future CBs, introductions to school transportation leadership, invitations for TAT’s in-person law enforcement training and a virtual presentation to the Fresno Human Trafficking Conference on July 15.

“Human trafficking task forces across the country are building infrastructure to fight human trafficking, and TAT hopes to come alongside those efforts, offering our targeted training and resources in order to help disrupt and dismantle traffickers,” explained Esther Goetsch, TAT CB director.

TAT NEWS FROM THE JUNE 2020 NEWSLETTER

Mississippi Trucking Association awarded 2020 TAT Champion Award in the Association Category

Commended for the passion and commitment of its leadership and members to do whatever they could to fight human trafficking, the Mississippi Trucking Association (MTA) has received the 2020 TAT Champion Award in the Association Category.

TAT Champion Awards recognize and honor the outstanding and dedicated efforts of specific TAT partners in three categories — association, state agency and organization — whose actions have significantly furthered TAT’s work in “engaging more members of the industries we work with, as well as the efforts of more agencies and organizations within their state and our nation, in the fight to end this crime and recover more survivors and prosecute more perpetrators.”

Describing some of MTA’s efforts, TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris detailed:

  • Engaging TAT to speak at the MTA annual conference to educate its members about human trafficking and to partner with TAT
  • Encouraging its member companies to get involved in the fight against human trafficking by partnering with TAT and becoming TAT trained
  • Hosting multiple Coalition Builds in Mississippi, ensuring state and local law enforcement see trucking as a partner in the fight against human trafficking
  • Serving on the statewide anti-human trafficking task force, gaining additional pathways for TAT’s law enforcement video to make its way into the hands of the state’s law enforcement officers
  • Being the first state trucking association to bring in the Freedom Drivers Project for Mississippi’s State Fair and providing a volunteer base to educate the state’s citizenry about the realities of human trafficking
  • Providing trucks for undercover operations with law enforcement
  • Being a Silver Level corporate sponsor for multiple years

Hal Miller, MTA president, said, “MTA member companies have trained almost 10,000 trucking industry employees in conjunction with TAT. These trained employees are acting as a watchdog on the American highways to combat this horrific crime.”

Speaking about the three Coalition Builds MTA hosted, he commented, “Thank you for letting us be a part of the Coalition Builds. I sincerely hope the events had as huge an impact on all the other attendees as they did on me. I already had a pretty strong understanding of the great things TAT was doing, but the real impact for me was the paradigm shift after hearing the survivor’s testimony. That story needs to be heard by as many as possible. It truly brings a whole new level of empathy and understanding that will motivate many more to support the efforts of TAT to combat trafficking. Thank you for letting us find a place to help.”

Paris remarked, “The associations, state agencies and organizations we partner with play a significant role in helping us combat the human trafficking taking place along our roadways. This year, in the Association Category, the MTA won hands down. They are inspiring and amazing, and it’s a privilege and honor to present them with this award. Their efforts are translating into saving lives.”

TAT expands digital resources

Revealing the truth of the adage that “necessity is the mother of invention,” Truckers Against Trafficking staff have taken the opportunity presented by COVID-19 to expand the digital resources available to help in the fight against human trafficking.

COVID-19 Video Dispatch Series
Each week, a new video is added to this series on the website. So far, these content-rich and bite-sized videos have included topics such as the impact of COVID-19 on human trafficking; a COVID-19 update for the bus industry; the impact of the virus on trafficking victims and how traffickers are likely to be operating in the pandemic; a reminder by TAT Ambassador Bill McNamee of the importance for vigilance by truck drivers in watching for human trafficking as they deliver crucial supplies; a conversation with Jake Roberson, communications director for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, on the increase in porn subscriptions during the pandemic; a conversation with Elizabeth Gerrior, associate director of Data Quality for Polaris, on the increased vulnerabilities the pandemic has created and the unchanging call volume; a discussion with Sydney Zuiker, manager of Safe Community Programs for Crime Stoppers of Houston, in keeping kids safe online; and a discussion with Liz Williamson, a survivor advocate, about the realities of familial trafficking and the importance of taking notice of those around you.

TAT App
If you haven’t already done so, remember to download the TAT App for your smart phone, whether Android or iPhone. It contains the number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline as well as critical information, including red flags to look for and case studies.

Upcoming digital resources
To bridge the gap and lay the groundwork in a state for future meetings and greater impact, TAT is working on a virtual tour of the Freedom Drivers Project, its ever-popular mobile exhibit, as well as digital Coalition Builds. To continue equipping and empowering a mobile army to combat human trafficking, all of TAT’s training is available online, and there are digital briefings and niche-specific toolkits in the works as well.

Justice Seekers is a new digital resource for law enforcement

Justice Seekers, a one-hour, monthly webinar series featuring expert panelists covering a variety of topics is scheduled to begin June 16 for prosecutors and members of law enforcement. This series is designed to deepen understanding about victims of human trafficking, give practical steps on how to engage with them, present best practices for undercover operations and share case studies of human trafficking investigations.

“While we believe the most effective training we provide is in person, where we can generate back and forth discussion with our audience,” explained Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, “with the uncertainty COVID-19 is causing as to when government entities will be allowed to gather their employees together again for training purposes, we felt this webinar panel series would be an effectual and accessible way for law enforcement officers and prosecutors to receive valuable information to help them in their work.”

Due to the sensitive nature of some of the material discussed, not all of the panel discussions will be recorded and available at later dates. Therefore, it is best to plan on attending on the scheduled dates and times of the webinars.

The first Justice Seekers panel will feature Survivor-leaders Beth Jacobs, Sula Skiles, Liz Williamson and Annika Huff sharing their experiences and interactions with law enforcement and their best advice on how to engage with them. There will be time for Q&A.

Shopping for a new tractor? Owner-operator selling tractor/trailer, donating money to TAT

During this time of pandemic, gestures of  generosity are appreciated more than ever. One owner-operator is selling his tractor/trailer and has decided to donate all proceeds to TAT.

The tractor, a 2015 Peterbilt 579, with an  80″ sleeper,  is listed on Truck Paper, as is the trailer, a 2007 Great Dane SSL. Descriptions of both are available on the listings.”

This driver has a history of going out of his way to serve with his time, talents and resources,” said Helen Van Dam, director of the Freedom Drivers Project. “He’s done this consistently and has consistently been generous towards TAT, but this gift just blew me away. He’s worked so hard with this truck and treasures it. To sell it to benefit TAT is so fitting for his story and so awe inspiring. What generosity — especially in the midst of the pandemic — to remember this mission and keep it at the forefront, providing funding to serve those made vulnerable by this pandemic as well as the drivers he’s worked alongside for years. I hope there are a lot of offers on this truck to honor his gift and benefit this mission.”

If you’re in the market for either a tractor or trailer, please check these out, and remember, the proceeds for each will be used to fight human trafficking.

Driving Goodness Campaign selects TAT as initial partner

Driving Goodness (DG), a recently launched campaign of The Vomela Companies to magnify all the good happening in the transportation services industry, has selected Truckers Against Trafficking as its first non-profit partner.

On its website , DG describes the transportation industry as “the omnipresent heartbeat of our people. Without the industry — and the millions of hardworking people it consists of — our lives would be unrecognizably different. We’re committed to the connections we make every day, whether it’s on the highway, over the radio, or through our shared commitment to social good.”

“DG recognizes the individuals and organizations inspiring hope, while championing industry causes in a collaborative approach,” said Purpose Transformation Advisor Lou Raiola. “DG is proud to support the incredibly important work of TAT as our initial nonprofit partner in purpose.”

In addition to website recognition, the campaign, supported by 3M, plans to act on behalf of the causes, individuals, companies and industry members it highlights through in-kind support, extending their messaging in a variety of ways and showcasing examples of DG partners in action and their life-changing effects.

The Vomela Companies is the parent company of a number of graphics/printing companies. They are a full-service specialty graphics and print provider, whose services include designing and printing fleet wraps for truck, bus, airlines and trains.

TAT NEWS FROM THE MAY 2020 NEWSLETTER

Wonder what impact COVID-19 is having on trafficking?

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is creating a video dispatch series to describe the impact COVID-19 is having on trafficking and how TAT’s key market sectors can respond effectively. The videos are purposefully “bite-size” and content rich to encourage wide distribution and implementation across audiences. As each video is created, it will be housed on a new webpage under the Resources section of our website. Videos will cover various aspects of human trafficking during the pandemic, protecting your children online, ways to respond to people closest to you, updates from the National Human Trafficking Hotline and others.

“We are already receiving great interest from people and organizations for these videos,” commented Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “It’s our job to continue to educate our audiences to:

  • understand how the pandemic is affecting the realities of the underground sex trade,
  • urge them to keep their eyes open,
  • call 911 if they are seeing a crime in progress,
  • exercise extra doses of compassion if they do come into contact with a potential victim … even if they are difficult and do not present as a victim,
  • call the hotline to access victim services or if they are unable to ascertain if what they’re seeing is indeed trafficking,
  • continue to educate their broader sphere of influence, such as other drivers, salespeople, CEOs, on how their companies, truck stops, bus terminals, oil towns, etc. can effectively combat this crime and provide the aid vulnerable populations so desperately need.”

Economics of COVID-19 are increasing the vulnerable population

While people might think sheltering-in-place and the fear of catching COVID-19 would decrease human trafficking, the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) says their statistics show no dip in calls during this time.

The economics of this pandemic, however, are actually increasing the vulnerability for people either choosing to participate in the sex trade or being forced to do so, i.e., trafficking victims.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the NHTH describe these vulnerable populations as having limited access to friends, family, teachers and social workers and unable to access the services that were once available. Many of them, like kids now running away from home due to abusive caretakers or families facing economic hardships and considering familial pimping, are in a worse situation than ever. When society does reopen, there may be so many individuals desperate to pay bills and feed themselves, they are willing to do just about anything an exploiter tells them.

While there are regional differences in demand statistics, based on local social distancing rules in a state/region, and some buyers, who refer to themselves as “hobbyists” on sex boards, being leery of contracting the virus, commercial sex transactions are still occurring on the streets, in hotels and at Airbnb’s, etc. In all likelihood, the buyers who are still active are the worst of the worst, thus presenting law enforcement with unprecedented opportunity to remove tens of thousands of dollars out of the sex trade/human trafficking market, if these individuals can be caught and held to account.

As always, vigilance is paramount
This is not only true for TAT’s law enforcement partners, but equally true for industry members — whether trucking, bus or energy — who are still out there and will find themselves, now and especially in a few months, in places where people in desperate situations will be.

“This is an excellent time for individuals to be educating their family members, especially their kids,” suggested Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, “as well as anyone within their sphere of influence, especially someone on the outskirts of their family who may have lost their job and was already shaky financially, as to what pimps/traffickers are really like. And think beyond sex trafficking to labor trafficking as well … especially, as we’ll see a lot of hurting businesses try to cut costs to keep their doors open and may seek to take advantage of their employees’ desperation.”

TAT Ambassador Bill McNamee moved by survivor testimony  even as his presentation moves others

Bill McNamee

Bill McNamee joined the trucking industry 30 years ago, because, “in the Marines, we were trained, then tasked to perform. Nobody was breathing down our necks to get us to follow orders or to get the job done correctly … so trucking was a perfect fit for me, and I’ve had a successful career.”

During his career as a truck driver, McNamee, who currently works for Carbon Express, received TAT training and felt equipped “to go out there and help in the fight.” He actually made a call to the National Human Trafficking Hotline when he observed obvious pimp control over some females who were dropped off at a truck stop. He has also used his TAT training as a volunteer firefighter and medical first responder, keeping his eyes and ears open for signs of trafficking when he’s out on calls.

Recently, as a member of America’s Road Team, McNamee became inspired to become a TAT Ambassador and be able to make presentations educating more people about human trafficking. “I wanted to tell anyone who would listen all about this miserable problem we have in our world,” he said, “and I wanted to make others aware of the work we, as professional truck drivers, do to fight human trafficking.”

TAT Ambassador Bill McNamee presented at a human trafficking seminar in O’Fallon, Illinois.

Earlier this year, McNamee spoke at a human trafficking seminar at the First Baptist Church in O’Fallon, Illinois. Prior to his presentation, he listened to a human trafficking survivor recount her experience as a victim and her ongoing struggle to recover. “As I sat there watching and listening to this young lady,” he remembered, “it had such an impact on me. I almost couldn’t go up there for my presentation. I had never listened to a survivor speak about the horrors of the experience or the misery that continues long after the rescue. It was life-changing for me. It literally broke my heart and put it all in perspective.”

He did make his presentation and then did a second one as a TAT Ambassador. “Both presentations resulted in people coming up to our literature table, thanking me, asking for more literature, and asking how the TAT program can come to their other organizations. Once we present this program to new folks, and they realize how important this training is and how it can help their communities and save lives, they’re eager to learn more,” he explained. “This is when I know that we at TAT are making a difference for good … I’m TAT-trained and TAT-proud.”

Host of the event, Jessica May, who is also co-founder, president and CEO of Renewed Strength Ministries, said, “Bill did a phenomenal job with his presentation. He impacted many that were in attendance, spoke with attendees at his booth, and was moving with the testimonies he shared. He is incredible, and I look forward to working with him again in the future. Thank you again for allowing him to participate in our event.”

Truck drivers recognized for their work during COVID-19

Transportation workers, who are continuing to do their jobs in the midst of the pandemic, are receiving public recognition. Two truck drivers, both TAT Ambassadors and part of TAT’s Man-to-Man Campaign fighting demand for commercial sex, recently received recognition and gratitude for work they’re doing individually and collectively — as members of the trucking industry — during America’s COVID-19 response.

Stephen Richardson, truck driver and TAT Ambassador, spoke at the White House ceremony honoring truck drivers and the trucking industry for the critical role they are playing during COVID-19.

In recognition of the critical role trucking is playing in keeping America running and ensuring families sheltered in place have the necessary goods to meet their needs, President Trump presided at a special ceremony on the White House lawn in mid-April honoring truck drivers.

“In the war against the virus, America’s truckers are really the foot soldiers that are carrying us to victory,” President Trump said. “Truckers are playing a critical role in vanquishing the virus, and they will be just as important as we work to get our economic engine roaring.”

In addition to representatives from the American Trucking Associations, several drivers were invited to the podium to share personal stories of delivering critical goods during the pandemic, from hand sanitizer to medical supplies.

“As a professional driver, I am proud to stand here representing my fellow drivers out there doing the important work of delivering for America,” said Stephen Richardson, a professional driver with Big G Express from Decatur, Alabama. “I am proud to be a truck driver, and I am especially proud of the work all of the drivers are doing now in response to this crisis.”


John McKown, truck driver and TAT Ambassador, delivered 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to the New York Police Department.

John McKown, a UPS driver based in Pennsylvania, said he was honored to deliver thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer to the New York City Police Department after the NYPD sent an “S.O.S.” to the White House requesting it.

“My whole career’s been about service,” McKown said. “As a military veteran and also as a police officer (former), we serve the ones that need help all over the country. What a great opportunity to grab this trailer load — 88 drums of hand sanitizer — and deliver it to the NYPD. … We’ve done two shipments already. That’s almost 10,000 gallons.”

McKown was on his way to the NYPD within two hours of receiving the request for the shipment. At that point, the NYPD had reported 7,096 uniformed members out sick, or about 20 percent of their workforce. He said the officers were extremely appreciative of the hand sanitizer and noted that the shipment may well play a part in saving some of their lives.

TAT NEWS FROM THE APRIL 2020 NEWSLETTER

Changes to methods and venues, but TAT still working despite COVID-19

Though COVID-19 has caused upheaval and disruption to all our lives and to the ways we both live and conduct business … while it is responsible for cancellations of plans and events as well as the creation of new schedules and priorities … while it has resulted in physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and economic challenges … Truckers Against Trafficking is still up and fully operational. We believe, now more than ever, it’s imperative we band together on behalf of the vulnerable and exploited. With that in mind, TAT would like to offer the following suggestions:

Thank a professional driver or truck stop employee — Would you join TAT in thanking all the drivers who are keeping our nation running and delivering much needed goods, and all truck stop employees who make sure they have what they need to keep trucking? Our prayers and gratitude are with them. Please take the time to express your appreciation to them and to pray for them as they serve us all.


Schedule your online training at
tat.truckers@gmail.com today!

Implement TAT Training Online — Although it’s impossible for us to gather together in person, TAT is still providing training online through our portal. Additionally, TAT staff are available to provide webinar-based trainings for your employees and/or drivers, whether you work in trucking, bus, energy, law enforcement or for a state agency … just contact us at tat.truckers@gmail.com.

Keep being the eyes and ears — While many of us are able to work remotely, and have homes in which to do so, traffickers are still at work selling their victims online through porn and on buyer boards, as well as at locations all along our nation’s roadways. There is still great opportunity to help those who need it most, and we urge all TAT trained personnel to be extra vigilant during this time. Please watch for minors selling sex or any kind of pimp control. Trust your gut and don’t hesitate to make the call …. 911 or your local sheriff’s office in case of an emergency, or 1-888-3737-888 if you’re unsure if what you’re seeing is human trafficking.

Law enforcement trainings continue to expand use of the Iowa MVE model

Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, (pictured here in Bossier City, LA) and Annika Huff, TAT training specialist, went to cities in five states to provide law enforcement training in the first two months of the year.

In the first two months of this year, Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, and Annika Huff, TAT training specialist and survivor-advocate, traveled to Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and New Mexico, where they trained law enforcement, including sheriff’s officers, highway and state police, DOT enforcement officers and law enforcement and employees from a variety of other agencies.

In March, TAT Training Specialist Louie Greek conducted 2 law enforcement briefings in Colorado for both the Avon and Vail Police Departments as well as the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Liquor Enforcement team. Following those trainings, the coronavirus pandemic intervened, and law enforcement trainings in Nevada and New York were cancelled for later in the month.

As a result of the trainings, Arkansas completed implementation of the Iowa MVE Model; and Lanier and Huff have leads to follow in Mississippi to complete implementation there as well. In Oklahoma, they learned that more transit and bus companies have been trained; and Greek’s audiences in Colorado expressed interest in the casino webinar when TAT completes it and stated the briefings were beneficial as they had seen human trafficking in their communities.

One law enforcement officer in Mississippi stated, “In 21 years of law enforcement, this is one of the best classes I have been to.” Another officer in Arkansas commented, “With so many other required trainings, it was eye-opening and a reality check. This is something we need to always be aware of.”

Lanier commented, “Training law enforcement on the realities of human trafficking is extremely gratifying, when we hear the troopers and officers commit to taking a second look and to asking more questions when they make an interdiction and inspection stop. We know they got into this job to serve and protect, and we greatly appreciate their desire to use the victim-centered approach and to do right by both the case and the victim.”

Decriminalization of prostitution increases sex trafficking

Full decriminalization or legalization of prostitution does NOT end or lessen sex trafficking. Prostitution and sex trafficking are completely linked and intersected. The one creates the market for the other. Remember that there is never enough “willing supply” to meet the demand, and sex traffickers have long since filled that supply with their victims. The call for full decriminalization of prostitution and the whitewashing of this exploitation as “sex work” absolutely impacts the crime of sex trafficking. It INCREASES it. Studies show that. We must stand against the one, if we are serious about fighting the other. TAT stands in total opposition to proposals that call for the full decriminalization of prostitution. We stand with survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in saying “NO!” to the full decriminalization of prostitution.

TAT NEWS FROM THE MARCH 2020 NEWSLETTER

TravelCenters of America honored with TAT Champion Award

Barry Richards, COO and president of TravelCenters of America, received the TAT Champion Award for TA from Helen Van Dam, TAT Freedom Drivers Project director.

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) awarded TravelCenters of America (TA) its prestigious Champion Award in the Organization category for 2020. The award was presented Feb. 13 at TA’s biannual leadership expo in Sandusky, Ohio,with more than 850 employees in attendance, including general managers from locations across the nation and members of TA’s executive leadership team.

The Champion Award was created to recognize and honor the outstanding creative, innovative, generous and dedicated efforts of specific TAT partners, whose actions have significantly furthered TAT’s work and mission to end human trafficking, recover more survivors and prosecute more perpetrators.

“Professional truck drivers are vitally important to helping us fulfill our work. From the beginning, TravelCenters of America knew they had the audience of people we needed to reach the most. They not only invited us in; they took our mission and ran with it. They’ve trained thousands of employees on what to look for at their sites and are committed to supporting our work in whatever way they can,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “Without the support, commitment and actions of TA, we wouldn’t be as far along as we are today in the fight against human trafficking.”

Examples of TA’s work with TAT includes:

  • TA created and held TAT’s very first product promotion and continues to sell TAT merchandise in its travel stores. In January and February of 2019, TA raised awareness and over $110,000 for TAT’s mission. TA is continuing the merchandise sales in 2020 and hopes to raise even more money.
  • TA administers awareness and empowerment training to its more than 21,000 employees at over 260 locations across the nation. TAT has also had the opportunity to present to all of TA’s general managers, alongside a survivor of human trafficking. Paris also presented at TA headquarters.
  • TA locations across the country serve as points of display and distribution for TAT messages and materials, including more than 2,500 posters to promote TAT’s Harriet Tubman award.
  • TA engages leadership, leverages multiple streams of support within the company and engages external organizations to support TAT. In 2011, TA encouraged other companies to become early adopters. President and COO Barry Richards recorded a specialized message to include at the beginning of TAT’s training video for all TA employees, emphasizing the organization’s passion in combating this crime.

“Human trafficking is a prevalent issue and we can’t just sit back when the opportunity to help combat this crime is at our fingertips,” said Richards, who is also a member of TAT’s Board of Directors. “With a captive audience of millions of drivers on our properties and thousands of employees across the nation, we knew we could make a difference, so we did. And we will continue to do so. I’d like to thank Kendis and Truckers Against Trafficking for this honor and for leading the charge to transform our industry.”The TAT Champion Award was created in 2019 and honors state agencies, organizations and associations for their dedicated work combating human trafficking.

Visit Truckers Against Trafficking at the Mid-America Trucking Show

Heading to the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, Kentucky this year, March 26-28? Be sure to visit the West Wing and TAT’s booth, #62088. TAT staffers will be at the booth March 26, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. for the VIP time and 1-6 p.m. for all MATS attendees. On Friday, March 27, the booth will be open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Saturday, March 28, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Motel 6 becomes TAT’s first hospitality partner

Motel 6 is taking some aggressive steps in the fight against human trafficking. They have not only created an anti-trafficking program but have given it oversight, coordination and management by an internal task force, representing all key functions of the company, to ensure it receives the appropriate resources and attention.

As part of their program, they have committed to Platinum-level sponsorship for Truckers Against Trafficking, and, as a show of support for TAT, they are offering a 15-percent national discount to TAT-trained drivers. The code to access that discount is CPM64TAT. Additionally, Motel 6 is providing TAT with 24 vouchers for free, single-night stays to be used as social media giveaways in 2020.

“We’re deeply committed to the fight against human trafficking in all forms, and we continue to expand our efforts through new initiatives and partnerships,” said Rob Palleschi, CEO of G6 Hospitality. “Through vigilance, education, training of every single Motel 6 team member, and coordination with local, state and national organizations, we are focused on doing our part to battle this global problem.”

TAT NEWS FROM THE FEBRUARY 2020 NEWSLETTER

Do you know this year’s Harriet Tubman Award winner?

Few things are as empowering and heart-warming as hearing the story of someone who’s been recovered from sex trafficking or prevented from being forced into it. Calls are being made to the National Human Trafficking Hotline and to 911 and local law enforcement by members of the trucking, bus and energy industries. Victims are being recovered and/or prevented from becoming victimized.

TAT staff need to hear those stories!

Some “everyday hero” deserves to be named this year’s winner of the Harriet Tubman Award presented by Protective Insurance, complete with a $2500 check and a gala weekend at the Indy500. Is it someone in your company? Is it you? Is it someone you’ve heard about? Nominations must be made by April 30. The Indy500 and the award presentation are in Indianapolis, Indiana on the weekend of May 22-24. Visit TAT’s Harriet Tubman Award page for specifics on the nomination process.

Energy Empower Freedom Tour kicks off new year at Houston energy companies

Shell General Manager of Marketing and Delivery Fergie Theriault spoke to Houston press and Shell employees about human trafficking and what the energy industry is doing to fight it prior to employees touring the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP).

To launch TAT’s new industry-specific training DVD for the energy industry in conjunction with National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, TAT staff and the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) joined a number of anti-human trafficking organizations and the Oil and Gas Trafficking Awareness Group (OGTAG) Jan. 6-10 on a tour of Houston energy companies. At seven different locations, a total of 1034 people from close to 20 organizations toured the FDP, while 509 people attended one of 10 presentations. In addition to TAT staff, other presenters included OGTAG, Elijah Rising, United Against Human Trafficking, Street Grace and the Houston Area Women’s Center. Chevron had the largest turnout of 175 people at its presentation.

Ashley Smith, TAT Energy Operations director, stated, “The power of this event will be felt throughout the year. Through individual connections at different companies, we were able to start meaningful conversations on empowering energy employees to be trained on this issue. Each company we connected with has actionable steps they can take to combat human trafficking.”

The Houston Chronicle reported that one former trafficking victim, who now works for Royal Dutch Shell in Houston, was overcome with emotion as she walked through the FDP. Memories of that harrowing experience came flooding back to Ataria Malveaux, now 43 and an operations analyst, as she toured the exhibit highlighting the risks and dangers of human trafficking in the oil and gas industry. She broke down in tears. “It was very emotional, because it happened to me,” she said. “A lot of young girls out there don’t have the awareness. They don’t have the support.”

Employees from Seadrill and Exterran line up to tour the FDP at one of the stops on the Empower Freedom tour.

The weeklong awareness tour was the largest event yet held by OGTAG, said co-founder Jennifer Hohman, chief information officer at Seadrill, an offshore drilling firm, in Houston. “It’s only been in the past few years that people are really beginning to talk more about this issue,” she commented. “It’s always been there, but everyone in this community is starting to take notice.”

Industry members who toured the FDP commented that the exhibit: “showed me something I thought only regularly happened in other countries;” “that we each have a responsibility to educate our children and other young people about trafficking;” “taught impactfully about the way our accepted cultural norms play a role on driving human trafficking;” “showed how prevalent trafficking is at conventions/large events and how oil and gas companies can help to impact this and help make a change;” “made me more aware of what happens when young children/adults don’t have a good support system. Awareness to a trade is often times overlooked. This has impacted me in a way that makes me want to educate myself to pay more attention to surroundings in case there might be someone who needs help.” ”

TAT provides US Chamber of Commerce a best practices toolkit for business

At the Jan. 15 U.S. Chamber of Commerce event “Integrating Services for Trafficking Survivors,” Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, presented an engagement toolkit for businesses filled with best practices for fighting human trafficking. The toolkit can be downloaded a s a resource from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website.

The toolkit, created by TAT, instructs businesses on resources available to enable them to provide anti-human trafficking training for employees, customers and the community, adopt anti-trafficking-in-persons policies with a demand-reduction focus and participate in victim-centered public awareness campaigns.

Paris speaks at USDOT human trafficking awareness event

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, provided the opening presentation at the USDOT 100 Pledges in 100 Days Human Trafficking Awareness Event Jan. 28 in Washington, DC. Also speaking were Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar; Marty Kemp, First Lady of Georgia; New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith; and USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao, along with senior DOT officials, leaders of the trucking, transit, airline and transportation industries and Shamere McKenzie, CEO of Sun Gate Foundation.

Presentations were followed by three panels with the topics of Fighting Trafficking in the Freight Network, Detecting Trafficking and Protecting the Traveling Public in the Passenger System and Combating Trafficking in our Communities: State and Local Approach.

Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, spoke at the DOT event. L to R are Congressman Chris Smith, DOT Secretary Chao and First Lady of Georgia Marty Kemp.

This event launched a 100-day period during which the USDOT’s Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative is calling on all transportation leaders to join in a commitment to employee education, raising public awareness and measuring a collective impact by signing a voluntary pledge.

Paris commented, “It was an incredible honor speaking alongside Secretary Chao at this event, and we applaud her office for their tremendous efforts in activating the transportation sector on this issue. This is essential, because we know that the transportation industry has proven itself to be critical in the fight against human trafficking, and we must harness its full powerful and potential. We call on all private and public transportation stakeholders to rise up, work together and bring their resources to bear to close loopholes to traffickers, and we urge everyone to sign the Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking pledge, as it’s going to take all of us to put a dent in one of the greatest human rights violations of our time.”

Sapp Brothers initiates Help Now program for victims of human trafficking

In conjunction with its partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking, Sapp Brothers Travel Centers, with 17 locations reaching from Utah to Pennsylvania, has initiated Help Now, a program designed to identify victims of human trafficking and provide them with immediate help.

Working with TAT and law enforcement, Sapp Brothers has included as program components:

  • Buttons in restrooms with verbiage that says, “If you are in danger, need help now or this area needs attention, press this button.”
  • Posters near the buttons with the text and phone numbers for the National Human Trafficking Hotline, as well as the location phone number for the travel center itself.
  • Training for employees on using a victim-centered approach when interacting with victims as well as contacting law enforcement for help.
The program started in locations in Nebraska and Iowa and will roll out to other states in 2020.

From signs outside their stores to donation boxes and support stickers on the wall, Sapp Bros. worked hard on their TAT fundraiser.

Sapp Brothers is also participating in quarterly meetings of the Coalition Against Human Trafficking in Omaha and is holding educational/awareness sessions at its locations in Omaha/Council Bluffs for customers, employees and surrounding businesses, complete with a special lunch menu for those participating in the training and law enforcement providing TAT training.

Throughout November, December and January, for its end-of-year giving, Sapp Brothers placed donation boxes at each cash register for donations to TAT. Cashiers also offered to sell a $1 cutout to customers declaring support for TAT, which customers could sign and Sapp Brothers hung on their walls. Customers could also round up to a whole dollar on their bill, with the money going to TAT, and shops in the travel centers gave away vehicle decals saying TAT+SB=HELP NOW to each oil change customer to raise awareness. These same decals are on Sapp’s transport trucks, and drivers of those trucks have been TAT Trained. The campaign raised $62,095 for TAT.

“Sapp Bros. is proud to partner with Truckers Against Trafficking in the fight against human trafficking,” said Andy Richard, CEO of Sapp Bros. “TAT has proven to be on the forefront of educating, identifying and stopping human trafficking. Sapp Bros. has recognized that TAT has the best resources and gives us the best opportunity to educate ourselves and our guests to be part of the solution to irradiate human trafficking.”

TAT NEWS FROM THE JANUARY 2020 NEWSLETTER

Happy New Year! Recruitment ongoing for mobile army of transportation professionals

In the fight against human trafficking, the more thorough the education and awareness, the better the equipping, the more people actively engaged, the greater the opportunity for success. Members of the trucking, bus and energy industries, working as extra eyes and ears for law enforcement, continue to make a significant contribution in closing loopholes traffickers are exploiting and making possible the recovery of victims.

This month is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, so be sure and share what you know with people in your sphere of influence about human trafficking and some of the efforts your industry is making to battle this crime. 2020 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the landmark legislation on human trafficking.

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) will be participating in a number of events as part of this month’s activities. Two of those will be in Washington, D.C. On Jan. 13, Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, will be a panelist at the USDOT’s session of the Transportation Research Board’s 2020 Annual Conference. Focus of the session will be “Combating Human Trafficking in the Transportation Sector: Everyone Has a Role.”

Two days later, Paris will speak at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event, “Integrating Services for Trafficking Survivors.” The forum will discuss techniques to empower survivors and the role of the business community and its partners to provide resources for healing. Non-governmental organizations, advocates, and community leaders have joined forces with businesses to provide housing and shelter, educational opportunities and skills-based training for survivors. Participants will also talk about the use of technology to identify trafficking victims.

Thanks to you, TAT blows end-of-year giving goals out of the water

After a tree-decorating contest,
Central Transport auctioned off the employees’ handiwork as part of their fundraiser for TAT.

Creative fundraising and generous giving from individuals and organizations contributed to TAT’s very successful two-month, end-of-year giving campaign. The campaign, with a $75,000 matching grant from N2GIVES, raised over $300,000.

A number of organizations held special employee fundraisers to provide TAT with a donation. One was Central Transport. With a goal of raising $10,000 for TAT, Central Transport ran their campaign from Nov. 18-Dec. 13. In addition to encouraging private donations, Central Transport held:

  • Casual for a Cause Day — Employees could wear jeans for $5 on a Friday to give to TAT. Many of their terminal locations also took part in this.
  • A cash raffle — Employees purchased tickets for a variety of prizes; winners were announced at the holiday luncheon.
  • PTO days raffle — Employees bought raffle tickets for a day of Paid Time Off; winners were announced at the holiday luncheon.
  • A Christmas tree raffle — Central Transport had a tree-decorating contest and then after the winners were announced, each tree was auctioned off, live, at the holiday luncheon.

At the holiday luncheon, held Dec. 12 for more than 200 Central Transport corporate and office employees, TAT Director of Corporate Engagement Laura Cyrus provided a short Lunch and Learn presentation, and then received a check for $10,307 for TAT. The following day, more money came in and, coupled with the auction of the Christmas trees, the grand total raised came to $11,777.

Peter Dwyer, president of Human Resources at Central Transport, said, “Truck drivers are in a unique position to be the knights of the road to help people in need and to spot strange behaviors. When we heard of Truckers Against Trafficking, we knew this was something our 4,000-strong driver work force at Central Transport wanted to be a part of … not to mention our generous corporate team who raised $11,777 to help the cause!”

From left: Peter Dwyer, Central Transport president of HR, looks on as Laura Cyrus, TAT director of Corporate Engagement, and Ben Sengstock, Central Transport vice president of HR, hold up the donation check.

“It was extremely fun to be a part of the holiday luncheon at Central,” stated Cyrus. “I was so impressed with the creativity of the little fundraisers they had going throughout their campaign, and it was exciting to be a part of the PTO raffle drawing and the live auction of the Christmas trees. It’s clear that everyone at Central — from the leadership on down — is moved and motivated by TAT’s work. We’re so pleased Central is not only training its drivers and employees on human trafficking, but also that they would choose to support our work financially. Thank you to Pete, Ben, Kristen, Kelly, and Anne for their great support of our work and all the effort that went into this fundraiser … and to the Central employees across the country who participated. You all are amazing, as is your generosity!”

Two TAT programs gain new employees

Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) and Coalition Builds (CB) have each taken on a new employee to help with an expanding workload.

Lexi Higgins

As BOTL program specialist, Lexi Higgins is focused primarily on equipping and empowering school bus drivers to combat human trafficking. She is passionate about leveraging relationships and communication channels for education, mobilization and impact.

Throughout her professional career, Higgins has dedicated her talents and efforts towards tackling gender-based violence through systems and culture change. Past experience includes positions with the Association of Junior Leagues International, the University of Washington Women’s Center and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, where she partnered with a local NGO to train and empower rural women’s groups. She also serves in volunteer leadership roles with SAFER (Students Active For Ending Rape) and the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

“I’m excited to join such an incredible team, who are dedicated not only to combating human trafficking, but to doing it strategically and systemically,” she said. “I know the work I do with TAT will matter, and I look forward to contributing towards the already monumental achievements of the organization.”

Ruthie Stanfill

Ruthie Stanfill fills the position of CB specialist, focusing on building strategic public-private partnerships between the trucking, bus, truck stop and energy industries with law enforcement and government agencies. She has 10 years in operational and project management.

“TAT’s effective, logical and grass-roots approach to the fight against human trafficking is why I joined the team,” she states. “I am excited to be a part of an organization that is educating organizations, public figures and businesses which can make a difference and result in the recovery of victims.”

TAT NEWS FROM THE DECEMBER 2019 NEWSLETTER

Give where your money makes an impact – TAT is a great choice!

Most donors want to give where their financial support will make an impact. 2019 has been a year of impact for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). A few examples of that include:

  • Law Enforcement and Iowa MVE Model – In 2019, full implementation of the Iowa MVE Model grew from five states to 23, and partial participation in the model from 42 states to 47. TAT conducted 34 law enforcement trainings in 16 states, training 1413 officers.
  • Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) – By mid-November, over 40,000 members of the bus industry have been trained with TAT or BOTL materials, which includes 13,563 school bus drivers and 26,606 from the commercial side. An additional 100,000 more have “committed to training,” of which 80,000 are school bus drivers. And this year, for the first time, TAT’s prestigious Harriet Tubman Award went to two members of the bus industry for their actions in preventing the trafficking of a young woman. Additionally, through Coach USA/Megabus, eight survivors have received traveling vouchers.
  • Freedom Drivers Project – The FDP continues to be in high demand across the nation by legislators, anti-trafficking groups and trucking leaders, with over 3000 people touring it at 28 events this year. The first driver-hosted-and-led FDP events took place in September at the UPS CACH Hub in Chicago, with 477 people touring — the most of any 2019 corporate event — and the UPS Ohio Valley Truck Rodeo in Indianapolis. Drivers trained by TAT to set up, host and tear down the FDP were in charge at both events.
  • Coalition Builds – TAT held eleven Coalition Builds (CB) this year, including the first international CB in Toronto, Ontario, the first bus/casino CB in Colorado and the first Mid-Atlantic CB that covered Maryland, Delaware and DC. Their impact assisted with a successful launch of TAT Canada, which included training of UPS Canada employees, Pilot/Flying J Canada employees and numerous speaking invitations in Canada; the movement of both Alabama and Missouri to becoming fully compliant with the Iowa MVE Model; the planning of three more CBs for 2020 along the East Coast; activity in Florida to make it fully compliant with the Iowa MVE; and law enforcement training opportunities in a number of states.

Commenting on the Canada Coalition Build, Ken Seader, vice president of UPS Canada, stated, “The Coalition Build was eye opening for everyone who attended, especially listening to stories shared by previous victims, about their experiences and how they were coerced into it. I was inspired by their bravery and the work they do now to support other victims. We came away with an understanding that we need to do more to create awareness and actively train our people to look for and properly report suspected human trafficking activities. I am proud that UPS is supporting this cause through training, awareness and policy. We are committed to helping get more truckers on board to fight this injustice.”

TAT is in the second month of a two-month, end-of-year giving campaign with a $75,000 matching grant. Now is a great time to make an individual donation or host an employee fundraiser on TAT’s behalf. And for a complete picture of TAT’s 2019 impact, keep an eye out for the 2019 annual report, coming in January.

Coalition Build highlights intersection of buses and casinos in the fight against human trafficking

Louie Greek, TAT training specialist, presented at the CB. Behind him are (L to R) Janet Drake, deputy attorney general with the Colorado Office of the Attorney General; Anne Darr, victim specialist with the FBI Denver Division; Detective Shanna Michael with the Denver Police Department; and Annika Huff, TAT field trainer and survivor-advocate.

By building on TAT’s successful Coalition Build model, Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) hosted its first-ever half-day briefing that specifically brought together law enforcement with casinos and the bus companies that serve them. BOTL partnered with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and the Colorado Gaming Association to host this pilot initiative in Golden, Colorado Nov. 13.

“With casinos only legal in two small mountain towns in the state of Colorado and bus companies running either scheduled or chartered routes specifically to those casinos, this Coalition Build focused on closing loopholes to traffickers at the intersection between buses and casinos,” explained Annie Sovcik, BOTL director. “We plan to replicate this in other gaming towns in the United States, given the close connection between casinos and buses, as well as the important role that casinos also have to play in the fight against human trafficking.”

The briefing was attended by 85 law enforcement and key industry representatives in Colorado. In a survey completed at the end of the briefing, 90 percent of respondents reported they are better prepared to identify human trafficking after attending the briefing and 100 percent said they would recommend attending a briefing like this to others in their field. A Colorado State Patrol officer described the presentation given by TAT Field Trainer and Survivor-Advocate Annika Huff as “one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard.”

Book now if you want the Freedom Drivers Project in 2020

The Freedom Drivers Project (FDP), TAT’s in-demand mobile museum on domestic sex trafficking, is available in 2020 for a variety of events, from trucking championships to employee appreciation days to human trafficking awareness conferences and corporate/industry conferences, but it must be booked in advance, due to the logistics required and its popularity. The request form is easy to complete, so book now.

In the last few months of this year, the FDP visited BNSF Logistics headquarters in Texas, the Whiting Petroleum All-State Safety Conference in North Dakota, the UPS CACH Hub in Illinois, the UPS Ohio Valley Truck Rodeo in Indiana, N2Publishing headquarters in North Carolina and the International Foodservice Distributors Association Distributions Solutions Conference in Florida. A total of 943 people toured the exhibit at those events. Those who tour the FDP express greater awareness and understanding of human trafficking and the toll it takes on lives as well as more inspiration to become involved in the fight against this crime.

Christmas shopping? TAT merchandise still available at TravelCenters of America stores

Looking for a hat, cup, flashlight or cell accessory  as a stocking stuffer or gift? TravelCenters of America (TA) still has TAT merchandise available for purchase at its stores. If you don’t see it right away, ask a store employee. TA conducted a product promotion for TAT back in January and February, giving TAT $1 from every product sold those two months and raising $112,946. They still have some product left, and these items could be just what you’re looking for to complete your Christmas purchases.

Curtailing demand cuts off the head of the snake

by Lyn Leeburg

Communications Director, Truckers Against Trafficking

In the world of commercial sex trafficking, marketplace dynamics hold true: the demand  of buyers for sexual services energizes the traffickers, pimps, exploiters and  abusers to meet that demand and make a profit. They do this through force, fraud and coercion with slave labor, using a mix of underaged girls and boys, women  and men, to provide services, including all forms of prostitution, pornography, personal sex slaves, stripping, etc., in a variety of venues. So, to fight commercial sex trafficking, stopping demand is every bit as important, maybe more so, than learning to recognize and report sex trafficking when you see it happening: No demand = no victim = no sex trafficking.

Since its inception a decade ago, Truckers Against Trafficking has been working with critical industries, including trucking, bus and energy, as well as law enforcement and shippers, to raise up a mobile army of transportation professionals who can provide an extra set of eyes and ears for law enforcement to close loopholes traffickers are exploiting and ensure that perpetrators are arrested and victims recovered when it comes to human trafficking, both labor and sex. We do this by educating, equipping, empowering and mobilizing the members of these industries through creating turnkey, anti-trafficking protocols and policies that activate the public and private sectors in an effort to combat human trafficking.

In 2017, we began our Man-to-Man Campaign to zero in on demand. Using top-flight drivers from the ATA America’s Road Team, as well as drivers from other company Road Teams, through our TAT Ambassadors program, we have drivers out making presentations across the country; we have life-size posters of them appearing at events alongside our mobile museum, the Freedom Drivers Project, with quotes explaining why they don’t buy commercial sex; and we have a video anyone can use to explore the attitudes and perceptions toward women that contribute to commercial sex trafficking. We provide a list of suggestions on how companies can work on lowering demand, including asking them to implement anti-trafficking-in-persons policies with a demand-reduction focus, and we provide samples of how these could read.

The argument has been made that if prostitution were legalized, sex trafficking would cease to exist. However, it is impossible to regulate an inherently harmful system to safety. In a recent article in The Guardian about the dangers of rebranding prostitution as “sex work,” author and activist Kat Brand points out that ” The whole point of the sex industry is that it offers men the chance to buy sexual access to women who do not want to have sex with them — otherwise they wouldn’t have to pay.” She goes on to describe why it is impossible to commodify consent, which the decriminalize prostitution advocates want to do: ” Perhaps the single most effective strategy hit upon so far is to pump out the myth contained in the term ‘sex work’: the myth that it is possible to commodify consent. How can sexual consent be a thing that can be bought and sold, yet we can still talk with a straight face about there being such concepts as healthy sexual relationships and meaningful consent? If, while having sex with someone, you feel repulsed by them touching you, afraid of what they might do, degraded and humiliated by the sexual acts, hurt by the hateful words they’re whispering in your ear, sore because he’s the fifth man you’ve had sex with today, exhausted from it all, traumatized, abused — the fact that you’ll get a bit of cash at the end does not change anything. There is no invisible hand in the prostitution market that magically disappears the lived experience of sexual abuse.”

All of this speaks to the issue of demand and why it must be curtailed. We urge you take the time to read through the strategies and anti-trafficking-in-persons policy examples with a demand-reduction focus that we have at the bottom of this website page and work to implement one in your company. Studies show that some of the purchased commercial sex is bought during the day from men at work. Having this policy in place will provide the necessary accountability for anyone using company resources or company time to purchase commercial sex or engage in anything that furthers trafficking. Whether you’re out on the road or behind a desk, your role in fighting human trafficking, and the demand that fuels it, is critical.

Support BOTL through Dressember

Dressember 2019 has officially started! Dressember  is a 31-day style challenge benefiting  anti-trafficking programs around the world, including Busing on the Lookout (BOTL)! It’s not too late to join in and be part of the impact by wearing a dress (or a tie!) every day this month. Head to  dressember.org   to find out more and check out the Dressember profile of TAT/BOTL as a 2019/2020 grantee:  https://www.dressember.org/blog/introducing-one-of-dressembers-new-grant-partners-truckers-against-trafficking

TAT NEWS FROM THE NOVEMBER 2019 NEWSLETTER

Kendis Paris receives Presidential Award in White House ceremony

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo presented Paris the award.

TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris was one of two recipients of this year’s Pres idential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo presented the award to Paris, and to the Responsible Business Alliance, at a ceremony Oct. 29 during a cabinet-level meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF) in the historic Indian Treaty Room at the White House . Ivanka Trump pro vided opening remarks at the presentation.

Nominated by the USDOT, Paris received this award “for her leadership of Truckers Against Trafficking and her sustained efforts to transform the Nation’s transportation sector by inspiring professionals in the trucking, busing and energy industries to combat human trafficking.”

“On behalf of all professional drivers, truck stop and bus terminal employees, I gratefully accept this award,” Paris said. “It is their daily efforts to recognize and report potential trafficking cases that are making a difference in the lives of victims across our nation. I’d also like to thank the diligent and passionate members of the TAT team for their tireless work in moving our mission forward, as well as the USDOT for the nomination and their efforts around the advisory council this year, whose report recommendations we hope become widely implemented.”

Following t he award ceremony, Paris and her guest Nikki Clifton, UPS vice president of global public affairs, remained for the meeting to hear what the various agencies have accomplished this year and plans they’ve made for the coming year to eliminate modern-day slavery through meaningful action.

American Trucking Associations honored with TAT Champion Award

Chris Spear, ATA CEO, received the TAT Champion Award from Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, on behalf of the ATA.

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) presented the third of  its inaugural-year TAT Champion Awards, this one in the association category,  to the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, made the presentation at the American Trucking Association’s annual Management  Conference and Exhibition in San Diego before an audience numbering over 1000. Chris Spear, ATA CEO, received the award on ATA’s behalf.

As the first national association to partner with TAT in October 2012, ATA’s name recognition lent credence to TAT’s cause and encouraged other early adopters to follow suit. In addition:

  • The ATA opened numerous doors for TAT’s message by allowing TAT to speak at their conferences; they also assisted with media promotion, made key introductions to industry leaders and openly encouraged their members to become TAT trained.
  • In 2016, they donated space so the Freedom Drivers Project could be open for tours at the National Truck Driving Championship, and the following year, they helped launch TAT’s Man-to-Man campaign focused on demand reduction.
  • The ATA brought together critical stakeholders from a variety of sectors with their law enforcement summit, greatly strengthening TAT’s relationship with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
  • Their own Elisabeth Barna has served on TAT’s board of directors since December 2015.
  • Most recently, they co-served with TAT on the USDOT’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking that created best practices for state agencies in combating this crime.
  • Their Trucking Cares Foundation supported TAT’s mission through a donation last year.
  • The ATA is the bedrock of TAT’s Ambassador Program … turning Road Team captains into TAT ambassadors, who are training audiences across the nation how to recognize and report human trafficking.

“TAT created the TAT Champion Awards to recognize and honor the innovative, dedicated and generous efforts of specific TAT partners in the categories of state agency, organization and association,” explained Paris. “All award winners’ actions have significantly furthered our mission by engaging the key market sectors we work with in the fight to end this crime. The ATA is an excellent example of how network leadership can affect social change, and we are thrilled to have them as our partner!”

Earlier this year Ryder accepted the TAT Champion Award in the organization category, and Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement won in the state agency category.

Help TAT fill the tank in its End-of-Year Giving Campaign which starts NOW!

Without fuel, even the highest powered, most finely tuned vehicles won’t move. The same is true of organizations. Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) committed from its inception to provide training and training materials free of charge to the industries it works with.

“In the beginning, we financed our work from our own pockets,” stated Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “But the work has grown exponentially since then, both across the nation and now into Canada and Mexico, and we need additional support to continue having adequate funding.”

Three unique features of this year’s campaign include:

  • TAT’s end-of-year giving campaign is two months long, beginning Nov. 1 and ending Dec. 31, 2019.
  • TAT-trained companies and sponsors are being asked to hold employee fundraiser events to help engage their people at even deeper levels and enable TAT to continue providing our life-saving training.
  • A campaign match of $75,000 is being given from TAT’s partners at N2GIVES. TAT’s portion of the match can include private donations, new or renewed corporate sponsorships and all money raised through corporate fundraisers.

On TAT’s website page discussing the campaign, there are multiple ideas for employee fundraisers, as well as examples of what some companies have done in the past. TAT will even help design custom digital graphics to aid in internal communications and marketing.

Corporate engagement and the support of industry partners and individual donors is essential for our support.  When an opportunity arises to reach more people or expand programs in a way that makes sense, TAT needs to be able to take it. TAT has the staff, the skills and network to make this happen. But, while the team has the knowledge base, abilities and contacts — just like a high-powered, finely tuned vehicle — there must be fuel, or, in TAT’s case, funding.

Please take time to carefully consider your end-of-year giving and fill up TAT’s tank for the promise of an exceptional 2020!!

Freedom Drivers Project does double duty in New Hampshire

Susan Dold, TAT systems administrator, presented on TAT at the New Hampshire community event.

After being open for tours at the New Hampshire Coalition Build on Oct. 16 in Concord, the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) attended a second event, “A Community Response to Human Trafficking,” hosted by the New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force and the United Way of Greater Nashua.

At the event, Susan Dold, TAT systems administrator, presented on the role of the trucking, bus and energy industries in combating human trafficking. She also provided suggestions for ways citizens can help fight human trafficking in their communities. Quality Carriers hauled the FDP to the event, and Josh Mason, a Quality Carriers driver, and Jon Brockway, a Walmart driver, volunteered at the FDP while it was available for tours.

Left to right: Drivers Jon Brockway, Walmart, and Josh Mason, Quality Carriers, volunteered at the FDP in New Hampshire.

“We are very grateful to TAT for bringing their mobile human trafficking exhibit to our community summit,” said Mike Apfelberg, president of   the  United Way of Greater Nashua. “Susan spoke eloquently and passionately about  this important subject, and our participants all appreciated being able to walk through the exhibit. It puts a very human face on both the problem as well as the solutions. Thank you so much to TAT for supporting this important work.”

Earlier in the day, the New Hampshire Coalition Build achieved the following results:

  • Vermont is now seeking to have a Coalition Build in 2020 as well as an in-depth law enforcement training.
  • The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration will be asking the New Hampshire DMV and DOT to use TAT’s state agency webinar to train all employees on recognizing the signs of human trafficking.
  • Law enforcement attendees included local, state and federal agencies, and there was significant interest in using TAT’s law enforcement training video to train additional officers.
  • At their school bus driver in-service following the Coalition Build, the New Hampshire School Transportation Association featured Busing On The Lookout (BOTL), showing the training video to over 150 drivers in the state.

TAT NEWS FROM THE OCTOBER 2019 NEWSLETTER

TAT Board of Directors elects Linda Burtwistle, president and CEO of Coach USA

The Board of Directors for Truckers Against Trafficking has elected its first representative from the bus industry, Linda Burtwistle, president and CEO of Coach USA and Megabus.com. Burtwistle has over 20-years’ experience in the international transportation industry. She previously served as president of First Student and president of First Transit in the United States, as well as CFO of the Virgin Rail Group in the United Kingdom. She currently sits on the board of the American Bus Association and was recently named vice chair of the USDOT Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking. She has helped open doors for BOTL to other bus companies in North America.

“I am honored to have been invited to join the board of TAT, said Burtwistle. “They are a wonderful organization, fully committed to their cause. I am very much looking forward to working with TAT and the bus industry to support the eradication of these heinous crimes.”

In the past year, Coach USA has BOTL-trained and registered over 2,600 bus drivers and other employees in the U.S. and Canada. One of these BOTL-trained drivers and safety directors from the Lakefront Lines subsidiary in Ohio assisted in the recovery of a victim and arrest of an alleged trafficker after a young woman asked the bus driver for help, and the company immediately got law enforcement involved. For these actions, the driver and safety director were awarded TAT’s prestigious Harriet Tubman Award, an annual award presented by Protective Insurance.

In addition to training, Coach USA has provided financial support to TAT/BOTL as a Silver Level corporate sponsor, and Megabus donated ticket vouchers for survivors to access. In the month of August alone, five Megabus vouchers were used to help survivors access specialized services.

TAT launch into Canada multi-faceted

With the opening of the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline earlier this year, operated by the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (CCEHT), with whom TAT partners, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) has been working to lay a strong foundation for an effective launch into that nation. Here are two of the most recent happenings:

TAT Canada Director
Heather Fry joins TAT as Canada director. Founder and former executive director of Impact Orphans, Heather has been working on behalf of the vulnerable and exploited for over a decade. “Human trafficking is an issue I feel very strongly about,” she stated, “so it is truly an honor to be part of such an impactful organization as TAT. As we launch into Canada, our aim is to build strategic partnerships within the public and private sectors that will drive momentum in tackling this dreadful crime. The expertise of Canadian industry leaders in trucking, bus and energy will be key as we enter the Canadian market and look for distinctives that maximize our efforts and impact in Canada. I am thrilled to partner with our neighbors in Canada to further build our mobile army and extend TAT’s reach throughout North America.”

Coalition Build: Briefing on Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Canada
TAT and CCEHT will cohost a Coalition Build (CB) on Oct. 29 at the Thomas Reuters Customer Care Center in Toronto, Ontario. Designed to activate public-private partnerships to combat human trafficking, the CB will bring together key trucking, bus, truck stop, and energy industry stakeholders, alongside law enforcement and government agencies. Participants will learn about TAT’s work in the United States and explore ways to partner, using existing successful strategies and models for implementation. The three-hour event will consist of presentations by CCEHT, TAT and a survivor leader and end with a panel discussion, including law enforcement and industry partners.

Esther Goetsch, TAT’s Coalition Build director, enthused, “CCEHT has been very pleased to have TAT come to their headquarters in Toronto for strategic meetings, to meet their team and learn more about each other’s work. They have been sending out the invitation for the CB to both local and national partners and have found those interested and excited to attend and learn more about TAT. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will be at the meeting, and they have also expressed enthusiasm about TAT expanding into Canada. We are inviting all of our U.S. partners with Canadian counterparts to help us bring the critical stakeholders to the table. Many have responded quickly and enthusiastically about attending. But we have room for many more.”

If you’re interested in attending the Oct. 29 Coalition Build in Toronto, click here to register.

Paris trains TA headquarters staff for Travel Centers of America and provides keynote at the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking Annual Luncheon

Close to 500 people attended the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking luncheon where Paris delivered the keynote address.

Kendis Paris, TAT’s executive director, presented on human trafficking, the basics of TAT and the components of TAT’s partnership with Travel Centers of America (TA) to headquarters employees in Cleveland to help them understand their role in the fight against human trafficking. This is TAT’s first time to present at TA headquarters. TA has partnered with TAT since 2011, is a Freedom Driver level sponsor and Barry Richards, TA president and COO, sits on the TAT Board of Directors.

Employees at TA Headquarters learned details of TA’s partnership with TAT and the impact that has made.

The following day, Paris provided the keynote address for the annual luncheon of  the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking in Cleveland. Among the audience were members of Ohio DOT, the Ohio Turnpike Commission, TA and Lyft. This event, sponsored by TA, is both a community awareness event and a fundraiser for the Collaborative.

“In addressing both the groups at TA Headquarters and at the Collaborative’s luncheon, I was able to shine the spotlight on our excellent partnership with Travel Centers of America, which has brought their resources to bear in combating the crime of human trafficking and has made a significant impact,” Paris elaborated. “The Collaborative to End Human Trafficking shares a like-minded approach with TAT, insofar as they are all about targeted systems change with key stakeholders to create a safety net for victim recognition and recovery. It was a pleasure being with both groups, and seeing firsthand the great work being done in Northeast Ohio.”

CVSA conference cements law enforcement partnerships, old and new

TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier speaks with a Mississippi law enforcement officer.

Law enforcement from throughout North America attended the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conference in Biloxi, Mississippi, Sept. 23-29, giving Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) the opportunity to meet with long-time partners as well as make connections and form new partnerships. TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier presented to the audience of over 600, and also joined with TAT Canada Director Heather Fry and TAT Training Specialist Louie Greek to network with those in attendance.

From left, TAT Training Specialist Louie Greek and TAT Canada Director Heather Fry made connections and talked about TAT’s work at the conference.

“Just as the Great American Trucking Show and the Mid-America Trucking Show are critical events for TAT staff to engage with trucking industry stakeholders as well as individual drivers each year, the CVSA conferences are vitally important for TAT in connecting with law enforcement from around North America,” explained Lanier, “working together to combat human trafficking and making alliances with the top commercial vehicle enforcement officers in each state to strategically and systematically close loopholes to traffickers who seek to exploit our nation’s highways.”

By the end of the conference, TAT efforts had resulted in:

  • States committing to implementing the remaining elements of the Iowa MVE model (47 states are now working with TAT on Iowa MVE implementation).
  • Requests by state patrols for TAT’s four-hour, in-depth law enforcement training in 2020.
  • Confirmation that the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration has added TAT materials in to both Part A and Part B of their curriculum, and this material will be a standard part of their handbooks used throughout the U.S.
  • Contacts in Canada as well as interest in the Coalition Build in Toronto on Oct. 29. (TAT presented to Region V, which encompasses the 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada). Law enforcement showed great interest in helping advance TAT’s mission by making connections between TAT and the Canadian transportation industry as well as working with TAT on the implementation and expansion of the Iowa MVE model.
  • Contacts with law enforcement and government agencies in Mexico in an effort to advance the work of TAT’s partners from Consejo Ciudadano in their forays with the transportation industry to combat human trafficking.

Dressember chooses Busing on the Lookout as a partner for 2019

Annie Sovcik, director of Busing on the Lookout (BOTL), announces BOTL’s selection as a partner for Dressember 2019. Dressember hosts an annual style challenge where men and women take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress or tie every day in December. This simple act has resulted in over $7.5 million raised for the fight to end human trafficking.

This year, your participation in Dressember will support BOTL’s mission. The Dressember style challenge is a fun and easy way to make a difference and get involved. Simply make a campaign page on their website, set a goal and start spreading the word. You can join a team, start your own team or do the challenge solo. Dressember will provide you with resources and stories to motivate, equip and encourage you along the way. Find out more and sign up at Dressember.org.

“We are delighted the Dressember Foundation is supporting our work with the bus industry,” said Sovcik. “With this support, we will be able to expand the efforts of the BOTL program to facilitate training and network building between law enforcement, casinos and bus companies operating in gaming towns, as well as increase the reach of our victim-centered awareness campaigns.”

TAT NEWS FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2019 NEWSLETTER

Mid-Atlantic Coalition Build strong on results

At the Mid-Atlantic Coalition Build, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (left) spoke with Maryland State Police outside the Freedom Drivers Project.

Attracting 95 representatives from DC, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, the Mid-Atlantic Coalition Build, held Aug. 1 in Hanover, Maryland, rendered strategic results for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). Partnering with three national associations, two state associations, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the Maryland Department of Transportation to host this training event, TAT concluded the event couldn’t have gone better.

“The Mid-Atlantic Coalition Build was a great example of what can happen when a diverse group of individuals, representing various sectors in law enforcement, government and the transportation industry, come together to leverage their influence and resources to combat human trafficking,” Esther Goetsch, TAT Coalition Build director, stated. “The discussion at the end of the meeting was lively, honest and informative, and I think we’ll see many doors for TAT and Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) open throughout the country as a result of the meeting.”

Director Tom Kean (left), Office of Safety Programs, FMCSA, USDOT, and Administrator Raymond Martinez, FMCSA, USDOT, shared a lighter moment as they listened to presentations at the Mid-Atlantic Coalition Build.

Already the Pennsylvania and DC attorney’s general offices are interested in co-hosting Coalition Builds in 2020; additional speaking opportunities for TAT are emerging through the FMCSA, the Maryland Human Trafficking Investigators Seminar and the National Sheriff’s Association Annual Conference; the Public Service Commission of Maryland wants to partner with TAT and BOTL to distribute materials to the bus industry and other transportation sectors they regulate; and the Maryland State Department of Education is considering introducing BOTL to all school bus drivers statewide.”

Thomas Keane, director of the Office of Safety Program for the FMCSA, said, “I leave today feeling both sad at the realities of how prevalent this crime is, but also hopeful, because I know exactly what my agency can do to combat it.”

TAT’s partner in Mexico releases an industry-specific training film

Consejo Ciudadano, TAT’s partner in Mexico, created a program, Guardianes Del Asfalto, which is replicated on TAT’s model of working with private industry in the fight against human trafficking. They have just released their first 12-minute, industry-specific training film . Guardianes del Asfalto is a program of Consejo Ciudadano, a Mexican NGO dedicated to serving the citizens of Mexico through a series of socially responsible programs. Guardianes del Asfalto started in December 2017 and consists of online training for members of the Mexican trucking, bus and taxi industries. The training film defines human trafficking and provides red flags to watch out for and actions to take if human trafficking is suspected. They also have wallet cards with red flag indicators of human trafficking available for members of the transportation industry.

Freedom Drivers Project draws large audience at the Iowa State Fair

 

TAT continues to draw large crowds at the 2019 Great American Trucking Show

Thanks to the generous donation of space for the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) by Randall Reilly, Truckers Against Trafficking drew a sizeable crowd at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) in Dallas Aug. 22-24.

Volunteers from Omnitracs, BNSF Logistics and Walmart helped TAT staff pass out materials to GATS attendees.

“We had an amazing time with our volunteers from Omnitracs, BNSF Logistics and Walmart, who helped hand out over 10,000 wallet cards to attendees and companies and encouraged 1,210 people to walk through the Freedom Drivers Project,” said Susan Dold, TAT systems administrator. “We can’t do what we do without the support of everyone in the trucking industry, and now there are more people out there aware of the realities of domestic sex trafficking, the signs to look for and the knowledge to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline if they see it.”

Megabus tickets available to help support trafficking victims

TAT NEWS FROM THE AUGUST 2019 NEWSLETTER

BOTL makes in-roads to transit and school buses throughout the United States

The BOTL campaign in Las Vegas speaks directly to victims.

Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) has launched a victim-centered campaign in Las Vegas in partnership with the Nevada Highway Patrol and made possible with donated advertising space from Vector Media. BOTL victim-centered posters can now be seen at bus shelters and on buses throughout the city of Las Vegas. These posters, created in consultation with survivors of domestic sex trafficking, use language and images to catch the eye of victims, so they know there are resources out there to support them.

In seeking to reach victims with this campaign, Trooper Brian Drohn with the Nevada Highway Patrol emphasized, “You’re not alone. We’re here for you. Our hands are outstretched, and we want to help. This life does not need to be your reality — your nightmare — anymore.” The posters will be up in Las Vegas for up to a year.

The launch of this campaign is just one of several major milestones the BOTL program, now in its second year, has made in recent months. As transit agencies in 21 states are beginning to adopt the BOTL training, and student transportation partners in 27 states are sharing the BOTL materials with school bus drivers, the program is adding thousands more eyes and ears in communities throughout the country.

This summer, Annie Sovcik, BOTL director, has done train-the-trainer sessions with school bus trainers in Illinois and Tennessee, as both states prepare to roll-out the BOTL training during the 2019/2020 school year, reaching a combined total of almost 50,000 school bus drivers. Beyond that, in the months of June and July, Sovcik and TAT Training Specialist Louie Greek have addressed student transportation leaders at two national conferences hosted by School Transportation News in Indianapolis, Indiana and Reno, Nevada and at state pupil transportation association conferences in Wisconsin, Maine and South Carolina.

BOTL has reached new transit audiences in the Pacific Northwest, as well as transit providers on a national level. First Transit, a major transit contractor, has been training all of its 12,000 bus drivers in 39 states, and the National Rural Transit Assistance Program, which many tribal and rural community transportation providers rely on for their training needs, has incorporated BOTL into its online course offerings.

This year’s Harriet Tubman Award winners were employees of the bus industry who had been trained with BOTL materials.

Freedom Drivers Project publishes mid-year report

The Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) has published a mid-year report detailing its impact for the first six months of 2019, honoring the companies which have hauled the FDP the most and demonstrating how its presence has aided other TAT programs in the work they do.

Wherever it goes, the FDP gains fans, like Laurie Dodge, Junior League Chief Brand Officer, who said, “TAT’s Freedom Drivers Project offered sage words during a riveting standing-room-only panel conversation with (anti-human trafficking and children’s rights leaders) Theresa Flores, Carol Smolenski and Kate Lee and a hands-on training in truck-stop activism. These opportunities were invaluable to League leaders, as they work closely with partners in communities near and far to eradicate this horrific epidemic.”

Two summers of law enforcement training in Oregon completed

Annika Huff, TAT field trainer and survivor-advocate

TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier and Field Trainer and Survivor-Advocate Annika Huff have completed two week-long July trips to various locations in Oregon to train 167 law enforcement officers two years running.

In 2018, they trained Oregon State Patrol (OSP) and various law enforcement from Oregon DOT (ODOT) in Roseburg, Bend, Salem and Portland. This July, they trained OSP, ODOT and local police and sheriffs departments in Central Point, Klamath Falls, LaGrande, and The Dalles.

“In traveling the state of Oregon to train on the realities of human trafficking, we have met dedicated officers in every city who become both enraged and impassioned to fight this crime against humanity,” declared Lanier. “We’re grateful for the commitment of ODOT to sponsor the eight trainings that have been held in the last 12 months across their state. In recognizing the trucking and busing industries as critical in the fight against this crime, adopting our Iowa MVE model and redoubling efforts to raise awareness about the indicators of trafficking, Oregon is making a difference!”

On surveys completed by class participants, one ODOT officer wrote, “Very powerful and amazing information. It’s going to take me time to fully process all of this information, but I feel like I have a far greater responsibility with my position than I did before this presentation. I also come from a family of truckers who are in the industry. They will all be getting this information.”

Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director

Some of the actions taken by Oregon law enforcement as a result of the trainings have included expanding the TAT wallet card distribution at all weigh stations and ports of entry throughout the state, handing out TAT materials to each professional driver at a 48-hour truck inspection detail and introducing BOTL materials to the busing companies in the state. Lanier says law enforcement in the towns just trained will be both continuing and expanding their efforts in reaching the CV industry.

 

 

TAT NEWS FROM THE JULY 2019 NEWSLETTER

Iowa MVE continues to gain traction across the country

TAT’s Iowa MVE (Motor Vehicle Enforcement) model continues to gain traction across the nation as law enforcement carefully consider the actions they can take to fight human trafficking by working more closely with transportation. Forty-six states have now adopted TAT’s Iowa MVE model in part or in full, up from 40 states at the end of 2018. Nineteen of those have adopted the model fully, up from five states at the end of last year.

On TAT’s State Agency Initiatives page on the website, an interactive map provides  a progress report for each state regarding the model. By clicking on the icon in each state, a reader can learn if the state has had a Coalition Build (CB) as well as the top three actions being taken in the state. If there was a CB, the CB impact report is provided, along with a state impact report. Law enforcement (LE) training reports will soon be available through the interactive map as well, but until then, those reports are available on the law enforcement training page .

Examples of some of the most recent state action steps to comply with the model include:

  • Utah went from adopting one to adopting six of the seven model components, only lacking the distribution of wallet cards when CDL A and B are issued and renewed.
  • Missouri went to full implementation and has already distributed TAT materials to 22 of the state’s truck stops. Pretty quickly, this distribution resulted in two tips of human trafficking being relayed to law enforcement.
  • One of Vermont’s DMV representatives attended TAT’s session at the St. Louis meeting of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), and the state went from no implementation to full implementation within two months. They even sent TAT photos of their industry days outreach where TAT materials were distributed.
  • New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island, Connecticut and other northeastern states have either initiated or renewed their participation with TAT by implementing the MVE model.
  • Kentucky only lacked one component of the MVE model to fully implement it and has now achieved that. Alabama moved from adopting two components to full implementation.
  • Delaware has required TAT’s state agency webinar for every employee of DelDOT.

As law enforcement begins Iowa MVE implementation, new LE trainings are often requested. Indiana and New Hampshire have requested TAT’s four-hour trainings, while Wyoming, New Mexico, Nevada and other states are looking at potential dates that would work for their officers.

“By implementing the different elements of the Iowa MVE model, state agencies and state patrols are able to use the purview of their offices to raise awareness about human trafficking, recognize it themselves and help transportation industry professionals do the same,” asserted Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director. “It is critical to helping close loopholes to traffickers who rely on no one noticing them or their victims. Our goal is to see each state in the US implement the model completely … or as many of its components as possible. When the messaging is consistent throughout our nation about what this crime is, and the information is specific to the industries receiving it, we will see impact.”

TAT honors Ryder with TAT Champion Award in the Organization Category

Laura Cyrus, TAT director of corporate engagement, presented the award to Ryder Chairman and CEO Robert Sanchez.

In this inaugural year of the  TAT Champion Awards , TAT honored Ryder System, Inc. in June as the TAT Champion in the Organization category, presenting the award at Ryder’s 22nd Annual Carrier Quality Award event with more than 150 nationwide carrier representatives in attendance.

Laura Cyrus, TAT director of corporate engagement, presented the award to Ryder Chairman and CEO Robert Sanchez, and spoke about the many ways Ryder has “gone above and beyond” to help champion TAT’s anti-human trafficking message and mission, since TAT became a 501c3 in 2011.

In addition to having had a Ryder representative on TAT’s board of directors since 2011, Ryder has consistently been a high-level sponsor, a “best-practice example” for a carrier and has championed TAT’s cause through introductions to other industry leaders and events.

Among its best practices with TAT, Ryder has:

  • Created tailored training and marketing materials and Ryder-branded wallet cards to more than 1,700 contract carrier partners.
  • Distributed training materials and wallet cards through Ryder’s TalentMap training tool for tracking and compliance.
  • Administered awareness training to 1,500 Canadian employees and more than 23,000 U.S. employees (all levels – technicians, drivers, management, executive team).
  • Distributed letters to all 50 state trucking associations asking for support of TAT.
  • Generated a co-branded Ryder/TAT banner that has been used in several industry events where Ryder vehicles are prominently displayed.
  • Included the TAT mission and its commitment to the cause as part of their conference exhibit materials used in various industry events.
  • Engaged primary service and equipment suppliers to also join the cause of supporting TAT (ongoing).
  • Provided financial support directly to TAT through the Ryder Charitable Foundation.

Cyrus stated, “Last winter, our small team carefully deliberated who the winners of this first round champion awards should be. When we came to the Organization category, I’ll be honest, we’ve had incredible support from carriers, corporations and industry professionals over the years. However, Ryder stood head and shoulders above the rest. Thanks to the early adoption and support of the program by long-standing TAT board member Scott Perry, who was the former Chief Technology and Procurement Officer of Global Fleet Management Solutions at Ryder, Ryder was one of the very first companies that caught our vision and understood how industry could come around and support this work, long before other organizations did. Ryder led by example, and there were many who followed, because Ryder is an industry leader and recognized as such. The influence and impact Ryder has leveraged on our behalf are truly exponential.”

In receiving the award, Sanchez said, “Ryder employs 9,500 professional drivers. That’s a lot of eyes out there on the highways and at truck stops and rest areas … those remote spots where it’s easy for the wrong kind of behavior to go unnoticed or unreported … and where a single person making the decision not to look away, not to turn a blind eye to what they see, can make all the difference to someone in need. Ninety-five hundred truckers at Ryder alone, and it’s still not enough. That’s why we’re all fortunate to have a group like Truckers Against Trafficking that leads the charge, organizes the transportation industry, and turns 9,500 drivers at Ryder and thousands elsewhere into a reconnaissance army of thousands of trained professional drivers committed to ending human trafficking.”

He continued, “I’m personally very proud of the relationship Ryder shares with Truckers Against Trafficking. Not only our drivers but also our technicians, managers, and executive team have gone through TAT training on how to identify the warning signs of human trafficking and how to report it. It works out to about 25,000 employees in all, more than half of Ryder’s total workforce, spread across the U.S. and Canada. Our own Stephanie Wicky sits on the TAT board of directors. And we’re proud to support TAT directly through the Ryder Charitable Foundation.  Sex trafficking can only exist in the shadows or when good people choose to do nothing. TAT is shining a spotlight into the dark places where trafficking thrives, and they’re inspiring an industry to get involved and do something good.”

In addition to the award presentation, Ryder gave Cyrus presentation time to speak about TAT’s work to those in attendance, helping once again to raise awareness and support of TAT’s mission.

Earlier this year, the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement Agency received the TAT Champion Award in the Agency category.

Thanks to your generosity, TAT met and exceeded its matching grant goal!

To help TAT celebrate its tenth anniversary, the Greenbaum Foundation and Change a Path put up $125,000 in matching grant money and gave TAT two months to match it. That period ended June 18, and thanks to the generous giving of our donors and sponsors, TAT received $294,988 during that period, of which $155,759 was “new money,” which means it came from completely new donors or sponsors or from donors and sponsors who increased their regular giving.

“This is very exciting to all of us at TAT,” said Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director. “With our planned expansion into Canada this year, a new training video for our Energy Program, new materials for Busing on the Lookout, and the continual need to provide training materials nationwide to trucking and busing, our budgetary needs are demanding, and this incredible outpouring of support to obtain this matching grant will really help. Thank you to everyone!”

TAT NEWS FROM THE JUNE 2019 NEWSLETTER

Lakefront Lines Bus Team in Ohio receives TAT Harriet Tubman Award presented by Protective Insurance

Lauren Gnall, district safety director for Lakefront Lines and Coach USA (left), and Larren Tarver, Lakefront Lines bus driver

Larren Tarver, Lakefront Lines bus driver, and Lauren Gnall, district safety director for Lakefront Lines and Coach USA, have received the 2019 TAT Harriet Tubman Award presented by Protective Insurance.

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.

When the Lakefront Lines Bus Team in Ohio, which had recently completed the Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) training, was notified that a female passenger on one of their buses was allegedly being held against her will and forced into prostitution by a male passenger on the same bus, they immediately sprang into action. As Tarver calmly stopped the bus, he reassured the other passengers, while being as inconspicuous as possible about the reasons for the delay. He notified dispatch and triggered an internal response system within the Lakefront Lines Safety Team that swiftly communicated with law enforcement and ensured police were on the scene as quickly as possible. Gnall and a colleague met the bus on the side of the highway almost immediately. Before the bus got back on the road – and safely transported the other passengers to their destination – the suspect was arrested; the alleged victim was recovered; and the case was referred for further investigation.

“TAT provides excellent training through their BOTL video,” said Gnall. “It opened the eyes of all the employees here at Lakefront Lines and Coach USA. We did not think this would happen in our area, but being aware of what is going on around us at all times and knowing what to look for really is the key. To say that the Award Ceremony and weekend getaway were astounding would be an understatement. We were treated like royalty, and I cannot say thank you enough. The award itself is also very important, because it helps to get people talking about these types of situations that would not have been a topic of conversation otherwise. I hope this keeps the conversation going in the future and opens up more opportunities for training in other industries.”

Tarver declared, “The training really helped me in feeling aware and alert of my surroundings. It really opened my senses to be on the look-out for possible dangers to myself and other people. I felt empowered by thinking of the family members of the victim, and if I wouldn’t have acted in the way I did, I would have probably never had a chance later, and the victim could still be in danger til this day. I can say in my three years of professional driving, I thought I would never encounter a situation like this, although I knew the possibilities were high especially after driving through major cities such as New York and Las Vegas. Some red flags that are imprinted in my mind for future situations like this one are to have a sense of all your passengers, look for any discomfort, nervousness, or anything that may seem odd in people acting strangely on my bus. I believe if everyone steps up to the plate and does the right thing, together, we can make a huge difference in the society we live in. I, too, have a daughter. She’s three years of age now but will eventually ride public transportation, and I care for my daughter’s safety 100 percent. I’m honored to be this year’s winner for the award, and I want to thank my colleagues and Lauren for making that moment in my life possible by their quick responses as well.”

Tarver and Gnall received their award from Laura Cyrus, TAT corporate engagement director, at the Protective Insurance Protective 500 Event in Indianapolis, IN, on May 25. Protective Insurance partners with TAT.

“As an organization, we know that it’s the men and women of the transportation industry — truck drivers and bus drivers — the folks out on the road day in and day out, that are the real heroes of this work,” said Cyrus. “It was an incredible honor to get to award Larren Tarver and Lauren Gnall as our joint winners of the 2019 Harriet Tubman Award presented by Protective Insurance. I must also thank Protective Insurance for supporting our work and this award and providing the platform and lovely venue from which we were able to honor Larren and Lauren. The entire team at Protective is thoughtful and fully engaged in supporting the work of TAT. We are grateful to have them as partners in this work!”

‘Everyday Heroes’ Kenworth T680 sold to Stewart Transport;  net proceeds of $167,000 going to TAT

Following the auction, Collin Stewart (left) of Stewart Transport and new owner of the 2019 Everyday Heroes truck, posed for photos with Don Blake of Inland Kenworth (center) and Mike Jimenez of J&L Transportation, who purchased the 2017 Everyday Heroes truck.

Collin Stewart, owner of Stewart Transport, submitted the winning bid of $137,500 for the “Everyday Heroes” Kenworth T680 auctioned May 17 at Ritchie Bros. in Phoenix. Coupled with additional donations raised by Don Blake, new truck sales manager at Inland Kenworth – Phoenix, and Inland Kenworth, his bid helped net more than $167,000 in support of Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT).

Stewart Transport, a Phoenix-based company specializing in delivering refrigerated and dry van freight, is a long-time supporter of TAT and its mission to end human trafficking. Stewart attended and placed the winning bid at the live auction. For Stewart, it was hard to pass up the opportunity to place a bid on a truck that supports an organization he believes in. “Our new Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 will allow us to help support and promote TAT’s efforts in the fight against human trafficking,” he said. “Our drivers are TAT trained, so they’re knowledgeable about the program and know how to help identify human trafficking on the road. This Kenworth T680 will be a great addition to our fleet.”

“The Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 auction was a fantastic success, thanks to our incredible sponsors, who generously donated parts and money to build this special truck,” said Blake, a TAT board member and the driving force behind this year’s auction. “Two years ago, our first Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 auction netted $83,000 for Truckers Against Trafficking, and served as a stepping-stone to increase the trucking industry’s awareness of human trafficking. That effort helped us to achieve this year’s even larger donation.”

The $167,000 donation is the largest one-time gift in TAT’s history, according to Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “We are so grateful to have Collin and Stewart Transport submit the winning bid. Not only will Collin’s generous purchase help us fund our programs, but they obtain a high-performing Kenworth T680 that will serve as a great addition to its fleet,” Paris said.

“The industry again showed its generosity by coming together to support TAT and its important work. The funds will be used to expand our work within the trucking industry, and further our partnerships with law enforcement, additional modes of transportation and multiple countries, in the fight against human trafficking. Special thanks to Kenworth and Ritchie Bros., as well as all of our amazing sponsors. And, I can’t say enough about Don Blake’s contributions to TAT. This major fundraising project required a tremendous amount of time and effort, and illustrates his dedication to our cause.”

According to Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director, Blake’s dedication to TAT and the ultimate goal of ending human trafficking is admirable. “Don is an excellent example of making a difference by putting his heart into something he cares about,” he said. “He had the idea to auction off an Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 two years ago, and it’s great for Kenworth to help him do it again this year. He is truly an inspiration to all of us, and an excellent representative of Inland Kenworth and the Kenworth dealer network. This auction showed how the industry can pull together to make a difference and support the fight against human trafficking.”

To make the Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 truck possible, sponsors at the platinum, gold, silver and bronze levels donated parts and money to help in the assembly process.  Providing industry support for the Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 are:  Platinum Level : Kenworth Truck Company, Inland Kenworth and Ritchie Bros; Gold Level: PACCAR Engine, SEG Automotive, and Swift Charities; Silver Level : Bendix, Bridgestone, Eaton, FlowBelow, Horton, Jost, Meritor, PACCAR Financial, PACCAR Parts, Trimble, Utility Trailer Sales of Arizona, and WABCO; Bronze Level: Alcoa, Arizona Rock Product Association, Arizona Trucking Association, Beaver Stripes and Molding, Chevron, ConMet, Davco, East Penn, Ex-Guard®, National Seats, PrePass / Help Inc, Sheppard, and Tectran.

TAT presents first-ever Champion Award in the state agency category

Chief David Lorenzen (left) accepted the TAT Champion Award from TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier on behalf of the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement Agency.

The Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement unit (MVE) received TAT’s first-ever Champion Award in the state agency category, for their unparalleled work in combating the crime of human trafficking. “We designed this award to honor an organization, state agency and association on an annual basis whose creative, innovative, generous and dedicated efforts have significantly furthered TAT’s work in engaging more sectors in the fight to end this crime,” explained Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “We’re looking forward to honoring our winners in the organization and association categories later in the year!”

At the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance meeting in St. Louis on April 1, TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier presented the award to Chief David Lorenzen of the Iowa MVE. In presenting the award, she said, ” The Chief and his office are exemplars of what it means to be a TAT Champion. The Chief is the creator of the Iowa MVE model that 43 states have now adopted, in part or in whole, with more states working to adopt this year. His leadership and example in determining new ways to maximize awareness and help identify pathways for engagement for state agencies and officers resulted with the Chief being appointed to participate on the US DOT Advisory Committee.

“The Iowa MVE agency is fully engaged in the fight against human trafficking and lead by example,” she continued. “Iowa MVE officers have been tireless advocates within their sphere of influence. MVE officers have visited every truck stop and nearly every trucking company in the state of Iowa with TAT information. The Chief and many of his officers train a variety of sectors and audiences about the realities of human trafficking across Iowa and beyond. Through their influence, school bus drivers in Iowa are in the process of receiving TAT’s busing-specific training as well — that’s over 11,000 professional bus drivers who will know what signs to look for as they transport our nation’s children to and from school.”

“It’s a very humbling honor for the men and women of Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement to receive this award,” Chief Lorenzen stated. “MVE staff understand the scope of this criminal activity and are committed to marshal the needed resources to educate, inform and collaborate with the trucking community, along with other government and law enforcement personnel, in efforts to attack this crime. We will never forget the victims and will continue to seek ways to make an impact.”

TAT NEWS FROM THE MAY 2019 NEWSLETTER

Addressing Demand: Man to Man video now available

In response to a request from TAT’s Ambassador drivers for more tools they could use when speaking with other drivers about the demand for commercial sex and its relationship to sex trafficking, TAT has created a video that explores the myths and attitudes that create demand.

This video can get the conversation started, not only among drivers, but in men’s groups, corporations and with men one-on-one. It is accompanied by resources and steps men, groups and corporations can take to help change ideas, attitudes and policies they may have, as well as cultural norms they see being lived out around them.

“As demand is an issue every person should be aware of and talking about, we urge you to watch this video and then share Addressing Demand: Man to Manwith your networks,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. “The truth is that if there is no buyer, there will be no victim, and there will be no sex trafficking.”

Get ready to bid on the new Everyday Heroes truck May 17

This 2019 Kenworth T680 Special Edition Everyday Heroes truck is a head-turner. And buying it helps fight human trafficking, as proceeds of the sale will go to Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) to help fund education and awareness throughout the trucking, truck stop and busing industries.

Truckers Against Trafficking and Inland Kenworth unveiled the Everyday Heroes truck at the National Mall in Washington DC in January, kicking off a four-month tour with stops at TMC Annual Meeting in Atlanta (March 18-21), and the Mid-America Trucking show in Louisville (March 28-30), before going on exhibit at Richie Bros.’ Houston auction (April 16), Denver auction (May 8) and finally the Phoenix Auction (May 17), where the truck will be auctioned.

The special Kenworth T680 is fully loaded with a 76-inch sleeper, 485-hp PACCAR MX-13 engine, and PACCAR 12-speed automated transmission.

TAT hires Louie Greek as training specialist

With the demand continuing to grow for staff to make presentations nationwide, TAT has hired Louie Greek as a training specialist.

With over 20 years of law enforcement, military and humanitarian aid experience, Greek has helped recover victims while working human trafficking investigations with law enforcement in countries such as Cambodia, Uganda, Myanmar, Nepal, Peru and Thailand, or working with local law enforcement to overseas military deployments in Iraq and the Balkans.

Working with international law enforcement agencies such as the F.B.I., Interpol, Royal Thai Police, Thailand Department of Special Investigations and Department of Homeland Security, he either led, facilitated or coordinated over 60 law enforcement anti-human-trafficking operations, liberating over 740 human trafficking victims with the arrest of more than 120 suspects. In Thailand, he assisted in the creation of the Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children (TICAC) Laboratory at the Royal Thai Police Academy, which is responsible for hundreds of arrests related to human trafficking, smuggling of migrants and child exploitation.

He served 20 years in the Unites States Army (Reserve). During his time as a Captain, he trained soldiers on the Department of Defense’s Trafficking in Persons awareness initiative. His interest in combating human trafficking has steered him to acquire hundreds of hours of anti-human-trafficking education and, in turn, he shares that knowledge in presentations, trainings and awareness.

With a strong desire to serve, his passion in this fight for the cause is inspired by one of his most admired abolitionists, Harriet Tubman. Because she said, “I freed a thousand slaves; I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves,” Greek believes education and awareness are vital to winning this fight.

“After spending the last five years assisting law enforcement in human trafficking investigations around the world,” said Greek, “I am happy to now be a part of the TAT team, combating domestic sex trafficking in our country. I feel privileged to be a part of TAT’s work, alongside such professionals in the transportation and law enforcement communities. One of the great things about working for TAT is its many fantastic programs. My current favorite is the recent release of our Demand video from our Man-to-Man campaign.”

There’s still time to join the celebration!

It’s not too late to give to the $125,000 matching grant the Greenbaum Foundation and Change a Path are offering in honor of TAT’s decade of existence and service. To date, $84,764.60 have been donated. You have until June 18 to donate to this matching grant campaign, so we can continue to raise up a mobile army of transportation professionals dedicated to discovering and disrupting human trafficking networks.

Please consider wishing us Happy Birthday with a financial gift at this time so we can obtain this matching grant. Our impact in this fight continues to grow!

TAT NEWS FROM THE APRIL 2019 NEWSLETTER

TravelCenters of America exceeds goal in sale of TAT merchandise

High Noon Productions VP of Sales and Marketing Justin Hoffman (left) and Tom Neubold, SVP Stores for TravelCenters of America, LLC present Helen Van Dam, FDP director, with a check for $112,946 from proceeds raised in January and February through sales of TAT merchandise in TA, Petro and TA Express locations.

TravelCenters of America LLC (TravelCenters), operator of the TA®, Petro Stopping Centers® and TA Express® brands, presented a check for $112,946 to Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) at this year’s Mid-American Trucking Show.

In partnership with High Noon Sales, TA and Petro Stopping Centers travel stores sold branded TAT merchandise for the first two months of 2019, which included National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. With one dollar from every item of TAT merchandise sold, the goal was to give $100,000 to TAT to support their work.

“We are so happy that we were able to not only meet but exceed our goal for this very important program,” said Barry Richards, president and COO of TravelCenters. “As the industry leader, it is so important for us to bring attention to this problem and to do what we can to help prevent it.”

High Noon Sales VP of Sales and Marketing Justin Hoffman participated in the check hand off to TAT. “We were thrilled to be able to partner with TA to raise funds for Truckers Against Trafficking,” he said. “And we’re proud that our merchandise was selected for the campaign. We gladly matched the contribution that TA made.”

Helen Van Dam was on hand to accept the check for TAT. “The support we have gotten from TA for nearly a decade, and also from High Noon, will make a big impact to future programming,” she stated. “We’re grateful for the help in bringing awareness to the issue.”

TA has partnered with Truckers Against Trafficking since 2011.

 

TAT receives great exposure at Mid-America Trucking Show

Louie Geek, TAT training specialist, spoke to show attendees at the Kenworth exhibit about human trafficking and what they can do about it.

Thanks to the Everyday Heroes Truck exhibiting in the heavily visited South Lobby of the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS), the check presentation of $112,946 to TAT by TravelCenters of America LLC for the sale of TAT-branded merchandise, multiple media interviews and the Happy Birthday banner at the TAT booth, TAT received maximum exposure at this year’s show.

Walmart Driver Wayne Walker and TAT Administrative Specialist Molly Griffiths educated show-goers about human trafficking at the TAT exhibit.

In addition to the large sign posted in front of the Everyday Heroes truck highlighting Truckers Against Trafficking, Kenworth also allowed TAT staff to occupy their exhibit and share with truckers who visited. Wayne Walker, a Walmart driver, volunteered with TAT staff all three days of the show, talking to truckers and encouraging them to become TAT Trained. TAT staff handed out more than 3,000 wallet cards and received verbal commitments from companies and individuals that they were going to train with TAT materials.

 

Freedom Drivers Project attends 2019 UPS Management Conference

Some 85 UPS executives had the opportunity to tour the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) at the annual UPS Management Conference in Atlanta, March 17-19. Many found it “sobering,” and eye-opening, as they experienced the emotional impact of human trafficking through the displays and survivor artifacts and the toll this crime takes on lives.

Inside the FDP, Ricky Brown (right), UPS driver who drove the FDP to the event and also volunteered there, is joined by President of UPS Freight Rich McArdle.

President of UPS Freight Rich McArdle commented, “One of the first lines of defense to stop human trafficking is awareness. TAT and the FDP teach all of us how to be more aware of human trafficking: who the victims are — and you may be surprised; what to be on the look-out for; what to do if we think we’ve come across someone who’s been trafficked. When it comes to combating human trafficking, I’m very proud of how UPS supports TAT and the FDP.”

“We were honored to have the Freedom Drivers Project on site for two days, stated Susan Dold, TAT systems administrator, who joined the FDP for the conference. “UPS has done a tremendous job educating their staff on our mission and ensuring their drivers are trained. Having the FDP on site allowed another step into the world of trafficking, why it’s imperative to stop it and the good work UPS, and all trained truck drivers, are doing to combat it.”

Busing On The Lookout crosses 100,000 mark

As BOTL continues to expand and reach all segments of the bus industry in the United States, more than 100,000 bus industry members — both commercial and school — are either trained or committed to training with Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) materials.

Two-thirds of these, or over 70,000, are school bus drivers being trained through their state or school district. To date, the states of Iowa, Kansas, Illinois and Tennessee will have BOTL-trained all school bus drivers in their state by the end of the 2019/2020 school year. Other state Departments of Education are taking steps in this direction, while many more are sharing information about BOTL with school districts and student transportation directors across the state who can implement the training on their own.

BOTL has also made significant progress in reaching public transit agencies throughout the country. Oregon is implementing plans to get all transit drivers in their state BOTL-trained by the end of the summer, while the Connecticut transit system (CT Transit) has begun using BOTL with their employees, and First Transit is rolling out the training to its 15,000 employees in 38 states and Canada.

TAT NEWS FROM THE MARCH 2019 NEWSLETTER

Who deserves this year’s Harriet Tubman Award?

TAT is looking for the person to honor as the winner of the 2019 Harriet Tubman Award presented by Protective Insurance. Do you know someone in trucking or busing whose direct actions have helped save or improve the lives of those enslaved or have prevented human trafficking from taking place? Please contact TAT immediately with the name and pertinent information. The award presentation is in May.

To be considered for the award, the nominee — and/or additional people involved in the situation that resulted in making a call to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) or local law enforcement — must be employed by the trucking/travel plaza or busing industries. He/she must be able to provide all the details requested for the event or situation. These will be vetted by TAT’s award selection committee.

The award carries with it a $2500 check from TAT. Protective Insurance will provide two Harriet Tubman Awards each time the award is presented, one for the winner and one for the school/company or fleet headquarters, as well as a dedicated award ceremony during the Protective Insurance Protective 500 gala event, held in conjunction with the Indianapolis 500 event. It will also provide hotel accommodations for the award winner and a guest with full Protective 500 access to events, dinners and the Indianapolis 500 race. Protective will also promote and market the award to agents, brokers, policyholders, risk and safety managers and fleet executives.

Largest coalition build to date held in Alabama; second Alabama build in planning stages

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall watches from the back of the room as CB Director Esther Goetsch presents.

TAT cohosted its largest coalition build (CB) to date in Montgomery, Alabama in February in partnership with the Office of the Alabama Attorney General and the Alabama Trucking Association. Held in downtown Montgomery, the CB included approximately 100 members of the trucking, busing and truck stop industries, as well as law enforcement. The half-day event reached maximum capacity over a week prior to the build, closing registration and moving the Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall to ask TAT to consider returning to Alabama for a second CB in another part of the state.

The FDP was available for tours.

General Marshall opened the meeting by calling all attendees to action in the fight against human trafficking in Alabama. Following the meeting, he and some of his staff met with Esther Goetsch, TAT coalition build director, to discuss strategies for implementing TAT’s Iowa MVE model in total.

Survey results from the CB were positive, and one Intelligence Analyst from the Alabama Fusion Center commented, “Although I work with human trafficking investigations daily, this training showed me the importance of the trucking industry in combating this crime and enhanced my knowledge through a survivor’s perspective.”

Participants at the event also had the opportunity to tour TAT’s  Freedom Drivers Project.

TAT participates in Southwestern States Industry Day

TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier (center) is pictured with a number of high-level Mexican Federales with whom she was able to discuss to importance of trucking in the fight against human trafficking.

TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier presented for TAT at a conference called Southwestern States Industry Day Feb. 13, put on by the Calexico Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facility of the California Highway Patrol.

Law enforcement and transportation agencies were in attendance from New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, California and Colorado, along with trucking industry representatives from companies that work in both Mexico and the United States, members of USDOT, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Mexican Federales, the SCT (the Mexican DOT) and CANACAR (the Mexican equivalent of the American Trucking Associations).

While the entire day’s presentations were regulatory except for TAT, Lanier believed it was an excellent opportunity for TAT. “It was great to network with the different state patrols,” she said. “What was also significant was that USDOT/FMCSA, the Nevada Highway Patrol and Arizona DOT had our materials at their booths. I also got to speak with a large number of the Mexican officials, both law enforcement and CANACAR, about Guardianes del Asfalto, the program of Consejo Ciudadano that works with the trucking industry in Mexico concerning human trafficking. They all expressed great interest and immediately saw the value of educating the trucking industry on the issue to help combat the crime. The audience of about 110 really seemed to connect that human trafficking is not only an internal issue within each of our respective countries, but a crime that crosses the border in both directions. It was invigorating to meet with people who are already TAT champions and also to connect with those who had never considered the trucking industry an ally in this fight and help them see the value of their participation.”

Planning on attending the Mid-America Trucking Show? Visit with TAT!

If you’re planning a trip to Louisville, Kentucky for the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) March 28-30, be sure and visit TAT’s booth in the West Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center, booth #62088. TAT staff will also be available at Kenworth’s Everyday Heroes Truck, positioned in the South Wing lobby. We’d love to see you!

TAT turns 10!

In 2009, 10 years ago this month, six women — five of them from one family — agreed that it made perfect sense to try and engage the members of the trucking industry in the fight against human trafficking. They were a massive industry; they traveled every road in the country regularly and were trained to be observant while doing it; they often frequented places where traffickers worked to sell their victims; and, if trained to understand what they were seeing and what to do about it when they were confronted with a trafficking situation, they could be of immense benefit to law enforcement in recovering victims and arresting perpetrators. These women saw truck drivers as the eyes and ears of America’s highways … potential everyday heroes!

The women funded their efforts from their own resources; at the time, they had no outside support. They knew only one person in the trucking industry — a man who owned a company selling software to trucking. Using his contacts, he provided them their first publicity: an article in Fleet Owner and one in The Trucker and a radio interview on Sirius FM. He also gave two pieces of advice: attend the large trucking shows and don’t charge for your materials. We followed his advice.

The six co-founded Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries, a family organization they started in 2007 to fight issues of injustice, with an emphasis on human trafficking. Their first action step was a letter-writing campaign to state trucking associations and national trucking/truck stop organizations, explaining trafficking, what trucking/truck stop operators could do to stop this crime and providing some undercover footage of survivors being recovered from a truck stop and their resulting interviews. Christian Truckers Network volunteered to put up the first TAT website.

Trucking’s response was positive from the start. By 2011, TAT was growing so quickly and taking so much time, that the women dissolved Chapter 61 Ministries, and Kendis Paris took over as executive director. She put together a board of directors, which included trucking representatives, and took TAT through the 501c3 process. TAT took off and has been expanding ever since. A look through the 2018 annual report will show the growth and impact achieved in this past decade.

“While the statistics and stories clearly show this program is working, as I reflect on 10 years of growth, I keep coming back to all of the incredible people we’ve met and worked with who have helped make TAT what it is today,” Paris stated. “From the drivers to the CEOs, from shippers to safety directors, from law enforcement personnel to truck stop employees, from Attorney Generals to survivors, our board members, team members, our NGO, state agency and industry partners, have all done a remarkable job of combating human trafficking from within their sphere of influence. TAT is happy to serve by educating, equipping, empowering and mobilizing this mobile army of transportation professionals, who truly are changing systems and actively discovering and disrupting human trafficking networks. We have much to celebrate!”

Happy Birthday to TAT and a huge thank you to all of you who have played an integral part in all of the milestones achieved in this first decade! The successes of this grassroots effort belong to all of us!

TAT NEWS FROM THE FEBRUARY 2019 NEWSLETTER

Freedom Drivers Project goes coast to coast in January

National weather problems notwithstanding, the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) successfully traveled to events on both coasts in January, as well as one in Georgia.

From Jan. 7-9, the FDP attended its first busing event, the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where 154 people took the time to tour the mobile exhibit. “UMA is pleased to welcome Busing on the Lookout 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, the FDP traveled to the formal presentation press conference for the Everyday Heroes truck on the National Mall on Jan. 15 (see article below). Though Washington D.C. was shut down due to a winter storm that had dumped more than half a foot of snow the day before, the press conference was well attended, and 45 people toured the FDP.

Three days later, the FDP was in Atlanta, Georgia for the Demand an End Transportation Training in preparation for Superbowl 53. The training was hosted at the UPS World Headquarters by the Georgia Attorney General’s office. UPS CEO David Abney was one of the 135 people who toured the FDP there. Driver Ricky Brown, a member of the UPS All-Star Team, volunteered to work at the FDP alongside Madelaine Whalen of Great Dane, who drove up from Savannah for the opportunity to volunteer with the FDP again.

By Jan. 25, the FDP was in Sacramento, California at Matheson Trucking for a training event. Matheson is currently rolling out TAT training for all their drivers, and FDP Director Helen Van Dam conducted a training for their other staff. Matheson has committed to becoming a TAT Silver Level sponsor. Some 60 people toured the FDP there.

Everyday Heroes press conference successful despite snow and government shutdown

Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs and Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine both took part in the first public presentation of the 2019 Everyday Heroes truck at a press conference Jan. 15 on the National Mall.

Following some snow removal prior to the event, both the Everyday Heroes truck and the Freedom Drivers Project looked shiny and pristine for the press and public who attended the 30-minute event. Major media covered the event, both locally and nationally, with 19 articles published, and it was livestreamed on the Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) Facebook page, garnering more than 13k views and counting.

The “Everyday Heroes” truck, a 2019 Kenworth T680 valued at $162,000, was built with the donations of multiple sponsors. It will be auctioned off at Ritchie Bros. Auction in Phoenix, Arizona, in May with all proceeds going directly to Truckers Against Trafficking.

The news conference to unveil the “Everyday Heroes” Kenworth T680 included speakers, from left, John McKown, UPS driver and Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) ambassador; Don Blake, New Truck sales manager, Inland Kenworth-Phoenix; Karl Racine, District of Columbia attorney general; Kendis Paris, Truckers Against Trafficking executive director and co-founder; and Kevin Baney, Kenworth assistant general manager of Sales and Marketing. (Courtesy: KENWORTH TRUCK CO.)

Speaking at the press conference in addition to Biggs and Racine were Don Blake, New Truck Sales manager at Inland-Kenworth-Phoenix; Kevin Baney, assistant general manager of Sales and Marketing, Kenworth; Kendis Paris, TAT executive director; and John McKown, UPS driver and TAT Ambassador.

“The press conference was held to help raise awareness for human trafficking, and we accomplished that goal through our Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 and the Freedom Drivers Project,” said Blake, who serves as a TAT board member. “There was even a local driver who passed by and decided to pull his rig over to check out our special truck. He was inspired after learning about the program, and wants to become TAT trained and to encourage others at his company to do so as well.”

McKown said, “I’m in the fight, because I want to bring awareness to this horrible crime, and someday, somehow, make a difference in someone’s life.”

The truck will next be on display at the 2019 annual meeting of the Technology and Maintenance Council in Atlanta (March 18-21), the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville (March 28-30) and then at Ritchie Bros. for the auction on May 17.

American Trucking Associations hosts training for TAT Ambassador Program

Every two years, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) selects a group of elite drivers with superior safety records as America’s Road Team members. These men and women dedicate a few days each month to attend industry events, speak at schools or meet policymakers on behalf of the trucking industry.

From that group of drivers, a number will decide to become members of the TAT Ambassador Program (TAP). In the past, they’ve learned about this opportunity through a digital webinar training, but on Feb. 1, Laura Cyrus, TAT corporate engagement director, will provide the training in person in Arlington, Virginia at the end of the selection process.

“This is the first opportunity I’ve had to meet with these drivers face-to-face,” Cyrus said. “I’ll be able to help them understand the TAT mission and methods, give them a real feel for TAT and be able to answer their questions and concerns. For those who go on to become TAT Ambassadors, this training will enable them to speak more effectively on our behalf.”

TAP began in 2017 to increase TAT’s ability to respond positively to the many speaking requests received and to give truckers and trucking companies a platform to explain why they’re involved in fighting the crime of human trafficking. TAT ambassadors make a difference through their presentations and the lives they touch. At service clubs, churches, schools, conferences, trucking and busing companies, these men and women speak on the realities of human trafficking, what TAT does and what the trucking industry is doing to fight this crime.

Events already on the books for TAT Ambassadors in 2019 are the Community Awareness Event, York College, York, Pennsylvania on Feb. 14, the HeForShe Gala at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio on March 2, the Ohio Safety Congress in Columbus, Ohio on March 7 and the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools (NAPFTDS) Regional Conference in Corpus Christi, Texas on Oct. 2.

Susan Dold assumes new duties at Truckers Against Trafficking

Susan Dold

Susan Dold, who has served as the bookkeeper for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) for the past three years, now holds the position of TAT systems administrator. In this position, she’ll be responsible for maintaining TAT’s books, while helping to ensure donor management systems run efficiently. The position also requires hands-on assistance with our Freedom Drivers Project and logistics coordination, as well as presentation duties for TAT at various speaking engagements.

Dold has her master’s of business administration from Western Michigan University and has been active in the non-profit world for over a decade. This work included helping to operate a non-profit with an emphasis on raising awareness and funds for anti-trafficking organizations and helping with a start-up of a survivor recovery house.

“I’m looking forward to contributing to TAT in a more substantial way as my role expands in this full-time position,” she commented. “I’ve been impressed with both the level of professionalism and the impact TAT has had during their existence, and when the opportunity to work for TAT full-time opened, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been on the periphery of the anti-sex-trafficking arena for many years and am looking forward to being on the front lines, helping others identify and assist those who are caught up in this horrific crime as well as helping to put the traffickers behind bars.”

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.

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