by Donna Smith
Recently the awareness for human trafficking within truck stops has been a serious topic of discussion, and truckers are being educated and made aware in order to help combat the problem. The human trafficking industry is a billion dollar industry, destroying millions of lives worldwide, including hundreds of thousands in the United States.
To understand human trafficking one must understand that many human trafficking victims within the USA are runaways , kidnap victims, or immigrants brought to the US with hopes of a better life. All groups are forced into either slave labor or prostitution , much of which occurs at truck stops. This is no secret to truckers as truck stop prostitutes have been known as, “lot lizards” or “fender lizards.” What truckers haven’t known in the past however, is that many of these, “lot lizards” that are walking the truck stops, are actually victims of human trafficking, being forced into the world of prostitution.
Now that a national awareness is occurring for the human trafficking crimes taking place, truckers are becoming the ears and eyes for these types of incidents. More and more truckers are realizing that these “lot lizards” who many times were annoying to them, roaming the truck stops and knocking on their doors during the night and interrupting their sleep, are actually victims of horrific crimes.
The new truck driver awareness brought on by Truckers Against Trafficking and Chapter 61 Ministries has encouraged drivers to call the national hotline number 1-888-373-7888 when they see suspicious activity ( very young girls, bodily bruising/ scratching, do not speak English) This was the case for a trucker who saved 9 lives and broke up an organized multi state trafficking ring. Recently on FaceBook, we were made aware of another trucker who called authorities in Laredo, TX as he noticed suspicious activity and was able to save victims lives from human trafficking and forced prostitution.
Truckers Against Trafficking, Kendis Paris, will be conducting a seminar at the Memphis Trucking Expo on Octobers 23rd which we will be attending.
Kylla Leeburg, who is also one of the founders of the group has been on Truth about Trucking “Live” as well as other radio shows such The Truckstar Radio with Daniel Audet and Road Dog on Sirius satellite radio, discussing the need for truckers to become involved with the human trafficking problem.
Kylla, Kendis, and mom Lynn ( TruckersAgainstTrafficking) will also be having a series of webinars, which can be watched from your computer, designed to educate people (especially truckers) on how they can help eliminate human trafficking as it hides behind the mask of “willful prostitution.” The webinars will be brought to you with the assistance of Transport for Christ.
Part of Transport For Christ Press Release Educational Webinars Cover Human Trafficking for Trucking and Travel Plaza Industry MembersHuman trafficking is a $32-billion-a-year business, destroying countless lives and enslaving its victims, the majority of whom are women and children. Most Americans are aware of the problem in Asia and Africa, but are oblivious to that fact that it is big business here in the United States. To a great extent, domestic sex trafficking is occurring along our nation's highways and at its truck stops. Human traffickers target truckers, because of their transient nature, at truck stops, rest areas and restaurants as consumers of the children and women they sell. Pimps have also been known to recruit truck drivers to transport girls over state lines, removing some of the risk from their shoulders and placing it on those of the trucker and his/her company.Transport For Christ is partnering with a Chapter 61 Ministries and Truckers Against Trafficking to help educate the trucking and travel plaza industries, as well as the general public, about the truth surrounding human trafficking in America and steps they can take to fight it.Transport For Christ will host informational webinars presented by Chapter 61Ministries on October 5, 13, and 26 at 9 p.m. EDT. TO attend the webinar please click on the link for the day you would like to attend. Tonight Oct 5th at 9PM est https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/511390728
Oct 13th at 9PM est https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/163525386 Oct 26th at 9PM est https://www1.gotome...eting.com/register/939447360For more information:firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Scott Weidner, President and CEO of Transport for Christ (717) 426-9977
We’d like to bring to the attention an article that was in USA Today , which we believe actually ties together much of the criminal activity that truck drivers experience and face due to their lifestyle, specifically: the truck driver shortage, cdl training, lack of safe truck parking, and human trafficking.
The article basically spoke about the 459 unsolved highway murders that have occurred over many years, stating that most of the 200 suspects are long haul truckers. The fact is, that the lifestyle of trucking is an appealing cover for someone with a criminal mind. How easily they could blend in with the other 4 million drivers, having a legitimate job, and moving from state to state legally as they conduct their series of criminal acts.
At a time when the fear of a truck driver shortage is igniting CDL schools and Company training programs to be on peak recruitment, it is crucial that these schools and programs conduct a complete background check on all individuals, especially since many of these programs are funded through government grants and subsidies paid by our tax dollars. It would be unimaginable to think that a serial killer is being sent through CDL school and training on the backs of the American Tax Payer.
The article also brought up the problem with prostitution within the truck stops and travel plazas, but nowhere did it mention the problem of human trafficking with regards to prostitution , which we felt was odd that not one of those interviewed made the connection( NATSO or OOIDA), even though the topic has been of major concern within the trucking world. Also, no one mentioned the need for more safe trucking parking! This would have been a golden opportunity to discuss the need for Jason’s Law and how many of the drivers who are already suffering from the lack of available safe truck parking (which has drastically interfered with their ability to obtain their federally mandated 10 hours rest), also complain that their sleep is additionally interrupted by the many prostitutes who roam the truck parking areas knocking on their cabs. This should have been mentioned as most of the murdered victims discussed in USA Today were prostitutes!
See all the connections now?
We see the many of these problems relating:
1-The criminal suspects within the trucking industry can be deterred by a more complete and thorough background investigation of CDL student and driver applicants. This is a must if we are to maintain a well deserving respectable image for the professional truck driver.
2-the need for more safe truck parking ( Jason’s Law) which would alleviate much of the problems for drivers having to drive fatigued because of the lack of parking and also interrupted sleep by pan handlers, pimps and prostitutes….who very well could be human trafficking victims.
3- The human trafficking problem which exists in much of the truck stops and travel plazas, which also requires the need for more safe truck parking…the key word is “safe”