LAS VEGAS, Oct. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Trucking Associations announced this week that it has joined together with Truckers Against Trafficking 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.
"There are over 3.1 million truck drivers who travel over 408 billion miles each year," said ATA Chairman Dan England, chairman of C.R. England Inc., Salt Lake City. "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 to how to report any suspicions.
"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," said America's Road Team Captain Dion Saiz. "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."The Department of Justice estimates between 100,000 and 300,000 children are at risk every year to traffickers in the United States and that many children, teens and young women are sold into the sex trade. "Traffickers are continually moving their victims from place to place, for a variety of reasons, along our nation's highways and roads," said Kendis Paris, national director of Truckers Against Trafficking. "They 'sell' their victims at truck stops, travel plazas and rest stops, because they're convenient; transient populations frequent them who are less likely to "rescue" the victims; they have to use them anyway to buy gas and eat; and it's easy money and a good way to break in their victims for other things." A number of ATA affiliates already work closely with TAT, including state trucking associations in California, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin. TAT provides a number of resources for the industry, including a wallet card with guidelines and a telephone number to call. They provide a training DVD, webinars and other outreach materials.