Kylla Lanister, the head of Truckers Against Trafficking, founded the organization after realizing that truckers could be incredible allies."Trafficking happens everywhere," Lanier told NPR. "It's happening in homes, in conference centers, at schools, casinos, truck stops, hotels, motels, everywhere. You know, it's an everywhere problem, but truckers happen to be everywhere."TAT stickers, which contain hotline numbers and other information about how to report sex trafficking, are taking over the trucking industry.The organization also teaches truckers how to spot potential victims; often sullen children or teens. They could be wearing too-revealing clothing, or have a tattoo with a bar code or man's name, signifying ownership. Trucking companies have enthusiastically brought on the program and have reached over 250,000 drivers. Calls from TAT drivers have helped to report hundreds of incidents.Some states are even putting anti-sex trafficking education into the curriculum at truck driving schools. Ohio is one such state; State Patrol Capt. Mike Crispen calls the program, "an opportunity to educate and get more eyes on the road for us."
It's not the truckers themselves getting the program on board. Truck stops are also stepping up their training to include TAT information, as well as weigh stations and travel plazas along their routes. And it's completely revolutionizing how people see the victims and survivors of sex solicitation."If I saw a prostitute, I would have thought, 'Hey, that's what they want to do.' Now I know what signs to look for," said Sam Tahour, District Manager of TA Travel Plaza in Oak Grove, Mo. "I know what actions to take. Be on the lookout for this. This is what's going on out there, and these people need a hero.""Everyday Heroes Needed." Says the cover of the Industry Training that TAT has pictured on their site. Thanks to this program, everyday heroes are making a huge impact. Just look at this testemonial from Nicole Moler, Director of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC):
"Truckers are now one of the most motivated and well-organized industry groups working on this issue and their reports have led to countless arrests and recoveries of victims across the country. TAT has been instrumental in creating a community of activists who are speaking out against human trafficking and directly impacting the lives of victims. TAT is a leader in the fight against human trafficking and we regularly cite their work as an example for other industries to follow. I have no doubt that their work has and will continue to transform our ability to fight human trafficking and we are proud to partner with them in their efforts to eliminate human trafficking and modern-day slavery."
You can read more about the TAT's efforts here.