An article by writer Carl Segerstrom, originally posted in the High Country News details the work of Truckers Against Trafficking, a “Denver-based nonprofit” that works “to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking and busing industries to combat human trafficking”. There are “over half a million truckers trained to spot and report human trafficking through Truckers Against Trafficking. Truckers cover practically every corner of the nation, and with about 3.5 million employed nationwide, they outnumber law enforcement by more than three to one.”
“Law enforcement statistics are fragmented and don’t capture the true extent of human or sex trafficking. The National Human Trafficking Hotline, a project of the Polaris Project, generated nearly 9,000 trafficking cases in 2017 with more than 10,000 likely victims. But that is only a small fraction of the actual number: The organization estimates that hundreds of thousands of people are trafficked in the United States each year”.
“The areas with the most trafficking are along busy highway corridors and in big cities. California’s urban areas and major highway corridors have more reported cases than anywhere else in the nation, although human and sex trafficking occurs throughout the West”.
“While the term trafficking often evokes images of immigrants being smuggled across the border, the majority of victims in the United States are domestic. And sex trafficking is more prevalent than labor trafficking: According to 2017 data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, two-thirds of trafficking cases reported nationwide involved people being sold for commercial sexual exploitation. Data from survivor surveys show intimate partners and family members are the most likely to traffic victims.
In order to build an understanding of the realities of modern trafficking, Truckers Against Trafficking trains drivers through a video tutorial. The training video pairs the story of a trafficked teen with insight from an FBI special agent and anti-human trafficking experts. Truckers must also pass a 15-question quiz. The video offers tips for identifying people, and especially girls, who are being prostituted or appear to be held against their will, and it explains how reporting trafficking-related chatter over social media and trucking communication lines like CB radios can help lead to arrests.
Eight states, including Washington and Colorado, require the training for driver certification, and parts of the program are implemented in nearly 40 states. Truckers have made more than 2,000 calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and the cases generated by these calls have identified more than 1,000 trafficking victims, according to hotline reports”.