Truckers have long been counted on as the eyes and ears on the road for law enforcement and now another state is tapping into the industry as the South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson officially asks truckers around the state to help stop human trafficking.
“A lot of traffickers take their trafficking victims to truck stops,” Wilson said. “To rest areas, where truckers might be staying overnight…they’ll hear a knock on the cabin of their truck, there’s a young woman there offering services. That is an example.”
As an organization, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) asks transportation professionals to assist law enforcement in the recognition and reporting of human trafficking, in order to aid in the recovery of victims and the arrest of their perpetrators. Wilson’s initiative, called South Carolina Highway Heroes: Truckers Against Trafficking, will being sending 100,000 postcards to Commercial Driver License holders, inviting them to watch a free training video about what trafficking signs to look for and how to report it.
“We’re asking people to be good human beings,” Wilson said. “Getting them trained up through this campaign so that they can identify and report it when they see it…the United States is the number one place for human trafficking in the world.”
The TAT organization originally set out to teach truck drivers about trafficking, but TAT has now expanded their reach to train bus drivers, taxi drivers, shipping corps, and even casino security. Executive Director and Co-Founder of TAT Kendis Paris said, “Truckers Against Trafficking recognizes that members of these industries are invaluable in the fight against this heinous crime. As the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways, drivers are in a unique position to make a difference and close loopholes to traffickers who seek to exploit our transportation system for their personal gain.”
Officials say everyone should look out because one never knows who could fall victim to human trafficking, or how they could help.
“Victims can be any age, young children all the way up to full grown adults,” Wilson said. “I want people to know that it can be anybody, anywhere, at any time, and we need to have more eyeballs looking at it.”