Researchers say only about 5 percent of men pay for sex, so it’s time for the other 95 percent to stand up and say, “this is not who we are” and let the 5 percent know it’s time to put an end to sex trafficking because if there were no demand, it wouldn’t exist.
That’s the premise behind Man to Man, a new campaign that was kicked off last week by Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), Demand Abolition, the American Trucking Associations, individual truck drivers, and representatives of various anti-trafficking groups.
It’s about men talking to other men, said Walmart driver Harold Doctor, who has 1.5 million safe miles and has powered TAT’s tractor and 53-foot educational trailer, the Freedom Drivers Project.
He said he has a teenaged daughter and she or one of her friends could be forced into trafficking and it was important to him to educate her and his community about trafficking and the “seriousness of the crime.”
John McKown, a former police officer, and now a UPS driver with 1.9 million accident-free miles, said he is “passionate” about telling other men about the project: “I know I’m going to make a difference in someone’s life.”
“We know sex buyers are highly deterrable; they can be educated and held accountable,” said Dr. Alex Trouteaud, director of policy and research at Demand Abolition, while Mar Trettmann, CEO of Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking or BEST, said companies that value women must adopt responsible programs, anti-trafficking awareness being one of them.
Kylla Lanier, deputy director of TAT, told how professional truck drivers are making a difference with the story of CFI driver Kevin Kimmel, who in January 2015 called local authorities when he was stopped at a truck stop and saw a beat-up camper with black-out curtains and a young woman’s frightened face.
When authorities separated the young woman from her two captors, a man and a woman, they found she been kidnapped, beaten, starved, raped, tortured, and sold for sex for 18 days.
Barbara Amaya, a trafficking survivor, said victims are brainwashed to believe they’re nothing more than a “commodity” and lose all sense of their humanity. “It’s very purposeful,” she said of traffickers’ brutality against their victims.
Elisabeth Barna, COO and executive vice president of industry affairs for ATA, said she recently spoke at a roundtable discussion with members of Congress and that “Congress has had its eyes opened about this” criminal activity. She also said that President Donald Trump, the vice president and especially Ivanka Trump were interested in the project.
“There’s still work to do,” however, she said.