What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. Traffickers use force, fraud, and coercion to control their victims. Any minor engaged in commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking. Trafficking can occur in many locations including truck stops, restaurants, rest areas, hotels/motels, strip clubs, private homes, etc. Truckers are the eyes and the ears of our nation’s highways. If you see a minor working any of those areas or suspect that the person selling sex is under someone else’s control in order to make a quota, call the National hotline and report your tip: 1-888-3737-888

Human trafficking is a worldwide, $32-billion criminal activity enslaving hundreds of thousands of victims each year into labor and sexual slavery and exploitation through force, fraud or coercion. In this country, between 100,000-300,000 American children are estimated at risk of being trafficked annually.

Because this crime depends on the anonymity and easy control of its victims, traffickers regularly transport and sell them at places they find to be most convenient for them and the easiest to access. Nationwide FBI stings have revealed that truck stops and travel plazas are among those places. Truck stops and travel plazas have been one of the locations from which minors enslaved in sex trafficking have been rescued and the pimps/traffickers selling them have been arrested.

Make the Call, Save Lives: 1-888-3737-888

Here are some red flags to look for and things you can do if you think there is a human trafficking situation.
Signs to look for in the area: Prevent trafficking

  • CB chatter about “commercial company” or flashing lights signaling “buyer” location
  • Does law enforcement show up at this location for prostitution-related calls?
  • Have you observed minor girls (and maybe boys), as well as women, scantily dressed, coming in to use your restroom facilities or going from truck to truck on the lot?
  •  Have you ever seen a car pull into the lot with one male and a number of females who emerge from the car and then begin frequenting the trucks?
  • Have you ever seen an adult accompanying a minor into the trucker shower area?
  • Do you routinely see a particular vehicle coming to the lot, dropping off girls and then parking in an area where the car isn’t easily seen?

Signs to look for in the victim:

  • Lack of knowledge of their community or whereabouts
  • Restricted or controlled communication; not allowed to speak for self
  • Not in control of own identification documents (ID/passport)
  • Any acknowledgment that she/he has a pimp and is making a quota
  • Signs of branding or tattooing of trafficker’s name (often on the neck)

Questions to ask:

  • Do you keep your own money? if not, who does?
  • Do your parents/siblings/relatives know where you are? If not, why not?
  • When was the last time you saw your family?
  • Are you physically or sexually abused? Are you or your family threatened? What is the nature of the threats?

What to do:

  • Do not approach traffickers. Call the hotline:888.373.7888, and if instructed, the local police (911). Allow law enforcement to deal with traffickers and recover victims. Approaching traffickers is not only dangerous for you and their victims but could lead to problems in the eventual prosecution of traffickers. Text INFO or HELP to BeFree (233733)
  • Provide actionable information – as many details as you can provide such as:
    • description of cars (make, model, color, license plate number) and description of people (heights, weight, hair color, eye color, age, etc) take a picture if you can
    • Specific times and dates (when did you see the event in question take place? what day was it?)
    • Addresses and locations where the suspicious activity took place
  • If at a truck stop/travel plaza, please notify the manager on duty of the suspicious activity; she/he needs to be aware of what is taking place on the lot and assist in ending it.

Truckers Against Trafficking

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a non-profit organization committed to educating, equipping, empowering and mobilizing members of the trucking industry to fight human trafficking in the course of their everyday work. Given the training and the tools, members of the trucking industry can play a significant role in closing the loopholes to traffickers who seek to exploit the trucking businesses in your community for criminal gain.

TAT has a free training DVD you can access by going to www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org or by writing tat.truckers@gmail.com for a personal or staff copy. They also have free wallet cards available, as well as posters, for use and to hand out to trucking customers. These cards have red flags to look for, questions to ask, information to report and the national human trafficking hotline number of 1-888-3737-888. Additionally, TAT can provide half-day conferences in your area between law enforcement and truck stop/travel plaza general managers to build coalitions for greater cooperation, understanding and effective activity in apprehending traffickers and stopping their operations in your locale.
Please contact tat.truckers@gmail.com if you’d like more information about having one of these coalition builds scheduled.


Trucker Against Trafficking (TAT) resource tools