NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is the first inductee to the Howes Hall of Fame’s class of 2021, Howes announced Sept. 15.
TAT, a 501c3 organization, is working to build a mobile army of transportation professionals, who are uniquely positioned to spot the signs of human trafficking on the road, to fight against the practice.
“We are truly honored and inspired by our induction into the Howes Hall of Fame,” said Kendis Paris, executive director of TAT. “With more and more truckers getting involved each day, we genuinely appreciate the recognition by Howes as it shines a light that will serve to draw in even more drivers, growing our network of eyes and ears even further, in pursuit of our goal to eradicate human trafficking.”
According to TAT’s website, human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which people are bought and sold for forced labor or commercial sex. Human trafficking has been reported in all 50 United States, with the total number of victims in the country estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands. Globally, more than 40 million people are believed to be victims of human trafficking.
While illegal, human trafficking has become a booming business. Traffickers recruit out of schools, online and in shopping malls, as well as on the streets and other locations. Many of the people being trafficked are women and children, and many are used in the sex industry. According to TAT, these victims are “the prostituted people on the street and in private homes, and in legitimate businesses such as restaurants, truck stops and motels. They need to be identified and recovered.”
“We are in awe of the incredible work being done by Truckers Against Trafficking and are truly honored to induct them into our Howes Hall of Fame,” commented Erika Howes, VP of Business Development at Howes Products. “With around 3,000 hotline calls having been made and over 1,300 victims having been identified so far, it is easy to see the real impact Truckers Against Trafficking is making. We invite everyone in the trucking and related industries to take action, get certified, and become an everyday hero.”
TAT believes truck drivers are the “eyes and ears” of the nation’s highways, and has developed a certification program to provide drivers with the tools to recognize the signs of trafficking and how to safely report it via an anonymous hotline. The hotline, operated by the nonprofit Polaris, is accessible 24/7, allowing witnesses to report crimes quickly, often right as they’re happening.
This training can and has changed the fate of victims desperately in need. Having educated over 1.2 million truckers, TAT also works to build coalitions between managers of truck stops/travel plazas and the law enforcement that investigate trafficking cases on their lots.
“While TAT has received numerous awards over the years, the recognition and honors that come from within the industry itself are truly the ones that mean the most,” said Kylla Lanier, deputy director of TAT.
“We’ve been partners with Howes for a number of years, and the passion that they have to combat human trafficking by raising awareness within their sphere of influence has been exciting to see,” she continued. “We hope, alongside Howes’ leadership, that with our induction into the Howes Hall of Fame, more drivers and industry members may become aware of the problem of human trafficking and also their critical role in combating it.”
To find out more about TAT’s mission and training, click here.