American Trucking Associations announced Oct. 7, 2012 that it has joined with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) to raise awareness about human trafficking among professional truck drivers and the trucking industry and educate them on how they can help fight against the crime.
At a press conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, prior to the ATA annual meeting, Dan England, ATA chairman and chairman of C.R. England Inc., Salt Lake City, said, “There are over 3.1 million truck drivers who travel over 408 billion miles each year. We are asking our motor carriers to include this important information in their training programs and to work with their customers and communities to help combat the problem. These professionals are the eyes and ears of the nation’s highways, and with knowledge and guidance, they can make a big difference and save lives.”
By joining with TAT, ATA hopes to not only raise awareness of this problem, but to educate the industry on what to look for if they suspect a human trafficking incident, what specific information is needed for local law enforcement and how to report any suspicions.
“Truckers Against Trafficking exists to educate, equip, empower and mobilize the trucking industry to combat human trafficking as part of their regular jobs…and the trucking industry is responding in amazing ways,” stated Kendis Paris, TAT national director, at the press conference. “Examples of this are the hundreds of calls by truckers to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center reporting potential trafficking cases; rescue stories coming in; companies training their drivers; schools showing the TAT training DVD before drivers get their CDL and head out on the road; truck stops training their employees on how to spot human trafficking and then distributing materials from their locations to reach more drivers; loose coalitions forming between law enforcement and members of the trucking industry, so that both are working as a cohesive unit to capture traffickers and rescue America’s children; and state trucking associations working to involve their member companies in this fight.”
She continued, “And today provides even more evidence of the exceptional effort by this industry to stop this heinous crime… with the formal support of the American Trucking Association. We at TAT believe this level of national support will open even more doors and truly unite the industry behind this work. As the eyes and ears, the trucking industry can, and has begun to, deal a major blow to those who would rape, abuse and sell our children for profit along our nation’s highways. With its reach, influence, and ongoing support, the American Trucking Association will make it increasingly harder for traffickers to make a profit out on the road, and will shine a light on this industry as the modern day abolitionists they are.”
When he rose to speak, America’s Road Team Captain and professional truck driver for FedEx Freight Dion Saiz identified himself as both an everyday hero (referring to the TAT poster calling for everyday heroes) and as a trucker against trafficking.
“As we travel the country we see a lot of different things, from cars in distress on the side of the highway to distracted driving,” he said. “Professional drivers like me have a family and want everyone to be safe. Whether it is being safe around trucks or, in this case, being in a safe environment, we’ll do what we can to help end human trafficking.”
Also speaking at the press conference were Elisabeth Barna, ATA vice president, industry and outreach advocacy; Paul Enos, president, Nevada Trucking Association; Lt. Karen Hughes, Las Vegas Metro Police; Nevada Assemblyman John Hambrick; and George Jacobson, senior regional sales representative, TA-Petro.
American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook. Good stuff. Trucks Bring It!