Professional Drivers and the Fight Against Human Trafficking: Why They’re Vital to Ending It
One of the more promising developments in anti-human trafficking work, over the past 14 years, is the involvement of the trucking community. In the early 2000’s when anti-human trafficking awareness started growing, the trucking community was identified as a key industry in the fight. It was rightly observed that professional drivers are one of the professions on the front lines of the issue, as they are the eyes and ears on the road. Who better to train the red flags to look out for and equip with the national human trafficking hotline to call? Through organizations like Truckers Against Trafficking (and others) professional drivers received victim identification training and the results have been life-saving. Over the past 12-14 years the training has helped professional drivers identify countless victims of sex trafficking, enabling them to get the services that they need, as well as helped law enforcement make arrests.
A great start, but there is more the professional driving industry can do
Whereas this contribution from the professional driver industry is tremendously positive, the truth is that there is more the industry can and must do. To answer what that is, let me first ask another question. Have you ever wondered why prostitution is so commonly spotted at truck stops? Or why pimps and traffickers view these locations as some of their most lucrative? It’s commonly understood the reason why this is, is because the demand for prostitution is prevalent within the professional driving community; and this buyer demand is the root of the problem. Therefore, what the industry can and must do to help combat sex trafficking is to reduce the demand for prostitution from within its ranks.
Companies must expand human trafficking training to include demand reduction
To neglect this is counterproductive to all the good it is doing. It is not enough to help identify and free victims of sex trafficking while creating the demand for more victims to be exploited. That is like a person helping to put out a fire that he or she started in the first place. The question then for the industry is what can it do to effectively address the demand. For starters, professional driver companies must expand their human trafficking training to include demand reduction. This has to be a non-negotiable moving forward. The training must be relevant, non-shame based, and solution-oriented.
This is why the Gateway to Freedom Foundation provides anti-human trafficking training to truck companies that address victim identification as well as issues related to the buyer demand. Our training helps companies reduce liability, increase worker health and well-being, while helping end sex trafficking at the same time. To learn more about our training email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.