Many of us in the United States have the privilege to live fairly comfortable, conflict-free lives. We rarely have to think about the worries and hardships that our ancestors had to face. We know of the atrocities of slavery up until the end of the 19th century, but slavery was abolished and we have progressed as a society, right? In fact, slavery still exists today, and it is the world’s fastest-growing crime. Did you know that this modern day slavery currently pulls in $99 billion each year? Did you also know that the transportation industry intersects with the human trafficking network in more ways than any other industry?
Just last week, the Department of Transportation made a statement in an effort to get more companies, drivers, and the general public involved in joining the fight to stop human trafficking.
Rest stops, weigh stations, airports, rail yards, and ports are some of the most crucial locations for the human trafficking network, and as transportation providers, these happen to be in our backyard. As leaders in transportation, we must make a stand to end this horrific crime, and being educated about the warning signs, your power in impacting the industry, and how to contact the proper authorities is just the first step in ending this criminal industry.
The Warning Signs
- People that appear malnourished
- Small children serving in a “family” restaurant
- People not allowed to go in public alone or speak for themselves
- Lacking official identification documents
- Seeming to adhere to scripted or rehearsed responses
- Young girls or boys loitering at truck stops, ports, and airports
- Showing signs of physical injuries or abuse
- Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or what city he/she is in
These are just a few of the signs and signals that someone who is being trafficked may exhibit. The best way that we can combat these is to teach our employees, coworkers, and drivers to always be watching for these potential signs. Hold seminars and teaching sessions at your company and educate your community.
There are a few ways that you can report suspected human trafficking. For starters, calling 911 or contacting your local emergency hotline is always the best bet. You can also call the toll-free National Human trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 to report a suspected trafficking situation or to learn more about this issue. If you are not in a situation where you can call in to report a crime, you can text HELP or INFO to 233733.
The most important thing to remember in these situations is to not second-guess your decision to report something that you find suspicious. You could be the last line of defense for those that are victim to this crime. Lets all show Tribal Love and make an effort to end these atrocities.