The Howes Hall of Fame has announced Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) as its first inductee to the class of 2021. A grassroots organization working alongside truckers since 2009, TAT has taken a true stand against this appalling practice. TAT’s mission is to educate, equip, empower, and mobilize members of the trucking, bus, and energy industries to combat human trafficking.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that exists whenever people are bought and sold for forced labor or commercial sex. Though illegal, human trafficking is a growing criminal enterprise made up of individuals, groups, and even wide-spread trafficking networks. A worldwide operation, there are hundreds of thousands of victims that can be found in the US alone. Men, women, and children are all at risk for becoming victims. But sex trafficking victims are often female, many of whom are trafficked as children, with a disproportionate number consisting of women and girls of color. These people are prostituted out on the streets, in private homes, restaurants, motels, and truck stops.
Acknowledging that truckers are the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways, Truckers Against Trafficking has been turning truckers into a trained and vigilant arm that can recognize the evils of human trafficking hiding in plain sight. They have developed a certification program to provide participants with the tools to recognize the signs of trafficking and safely report it via an anonymous hotline. This training can and has changed the fate of victims desperately in need.
The hotline, operated by the nonprofit Polaris, is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and enables witnesses to report these crimes quickly, often right as they’re happening. This form of early intervention has put truckers in a unique position to close loopholes to traffickers seeking to exploit our transportation system for their personal gain. 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.
Truckers Against Trafficking has made becoming part of the solution a simple and easy process.
“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," Erika Howes, VP of Business Development at Howes Products, said.
The Howes Hall of Fame serves as a platform for Howes to acknowledge and thank all the great work that has, and does, go into the trucking and agricultural industries. The Howes Hall of Fame officially launched in 2020 as part of the Howes Family’s celebration of 100 years in business.