Written by Jasmeen Singh and Edited by Emilee Kain
Truckers against trafficking, TAT, is a 501(c) 3 that aims to educate, equip, empower, and mobilize members of the trucking, bus, and energy industries in order to combat the issue of human trafficking. Although TAT primarily trains individuals from these industries from the United States, in October 2019, they launched their initiative in Canada. TAT believes that individuals from these industries serve as the “eyes and ears of the nation’s highways” which means they have the ability to close loopholes to traffickers that wish to transport individuals across countries for the purpose of exploiting them for personal gain. To date, there are over a million individuals that have been trained through TAT to identify human-trafficking situations and 2692 calls have been made to the national hotline for human-trafficking by truckers.
TAT offers free certification to bus drivers and truckers upon the completion of their online course which contains a quiz. In this online course, individuals are educated regarding possible signs to identify human trafficking and what their next steps should be if they suspect trafficking. It is imperative that individuals taking this course learn that they can remain anonymous if they choose to report a possible case of human trafficking. This allows both truckers and bus-drivers to recognize that it is indeed “better to be safe than sorry” and report possible traffickers.
Shari, a survivor of human trafficking who was trafficked at the age of 15, discusses how a trucker calling into the national hotline of human trafficking upon the suspicion of trafficking saved her life. She says, “from the beginning, I wanted to get out but [the traffickers] never really left our sides at all.” An anonymous trucker called into the national hotline and reported multiple girls in a vehicle that looked young. Shari states “because this trucker made the call, I have an opportunity to actually have a life.” Shari’s mother says that “I don’t know who that [trucker] is but boy, I owe him a lot.”
TAT is an integral step to rescuing victims of human trafficking, as it equips individuals with the ability to recognize human trafficking and the necessary steps of action. It is imperative that initiatives similar to those that operated under TAT expand to other industries to educate the general public on human trafficking. TAT is planting seeds of hope for human trafficking survivors and Our Future of Change is forever grateful for their passion to educate the general public.
Truckers Against Trafficking. (2020). https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/.