“Our associates, professional drivers and the motoring public can take a stand by keeping our eyes and ears open for trafficking red flags,” says Pilot Flying J CEO.
In an effort to help raise awareness about human trafficking along America’s roadways, Pilot Flying J has partnered with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) to expand education for employees and outreach to customers.
“The Pilot Flying J family, made up of our employees, our customers, our vendors and other business partners, has the opportunity to help shut down human trafficking along our nation’s highways,” said Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam. “Our associates, professional drivers and the motoring public can take a stand by keeping our eyes and ears open for trafficking red flags. And, with one simple phone call, we can help keep our roadways safe and free of crime and, most importantly, save lives.”
Pilot Flying J posted information from TAT in its more than 550 travel centers and travel plazas across the U.S. These posters provide the National Hotline number that individuals should call to provide an anonymous tip if they witness or suspect human trafficking. The number is (888) 373-7888.
Professional drivers are encouraged to pick up a TAT wallet card at Pilot Flying J locations, which along with the National Hotline number, provides an email contact, tips on trafficking red flags and specific information to provide to law enforcement with each tip.
Pilot Flying J also now includes general training about human trafficking and TAT resources to all company employees.
Some of the human trafficking red flags that Truckers Against Trafficking recommends to look for include people exhibiting:
• Lack of knowledge of their community or whereabouts
• Lack of control of own identification documents (ID/passport)
• Restricted or controlled communication – not allowed to speak for self
• Demeanor: fear, anxiety, depression, submissive, tense, nervous
The timing of Pilot Flying J’s plans to utilize TAT training materials coincides with recent legislation in Tennessee aimed at stopping human trafficking in the company’s home state. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., Pilot Flying J supports the state law ratified in June that requires certain businesses, including travel centers and travel plazas, to post a sign with information regarding the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline.
“We’re very proud to support the work of Truckers Against Trafficking and do our part to help,” Haslam said. “The trucking industry is a family of caring individuals, and together we’re millions of people who can be part of the solution to a devastating problem.”
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) has received more than 125 calls from professional drivers, and of these, more than 60% resulted from awareness and outreach efforts conducted by TAT. Of the cases reported by truckers referencing trafficking, approximately 62% involved potential minors in human trafficking situations.
The TAT initiative has a four-fold purpose: to educate members of the trucking/travel plaza industry about human trafficking and the role they can play in fighting it; equip them with tools; empower them with steps to take; and mobilize them to take a stand against one of the world’s most lucrative and destructive crimes. The initiative includes a Website, www.truckersagainsttrafficking.com with resources such as videos, Webinars, Human Trafficking 101 classes and more.
Human trafficking, a term for modern-day slavery, is a $32-billion worldwide industry with more than 27 million people enslaved in the world today. In the U.S., it has been reported in all 50 states, and the number of victims is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.