A trucking industry push to spread the message about anti-trafficking efforts is gaining momentum.
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) has trained over 1.5 million as of the beginning of 2023, up from 1.3 million a year ago, the organization told Transport Dive. The group provides educational and training materials to carriers at no cost.
That’s also come with a variety of businesses sponsoring its efforts — to the tune of over 200 donors currently. Uber Freight, for example, joined as a Silver Level Sponsor in 2018, a designation for donors providing $5,000 or more, and has maintained that level of contribution every year.
“Trafficking is all about awareness, identification, your notification,” said Bill Driegert, Uber Freight co-founder and head of operations. “Drivers ultimately can ... be an incredible resource to law enforcement and the pursuit of criminals and traffickers.”
Laura Cyrus, senior director of industry training and outreach for TAT, said many companies have found a way to integrate the organization’s materials into their onboardings or trainings.
As part of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month in January, Uber Freight stressed the importance of fighting human trafficking, encouraging shippers and carriers on its platform to use TAT’s free training, which includes an app.
“Human trafficking is a problem that affects 40 million people globally,” the company wrote in its correspondence. “It has been recorded in all 50 states, with an estimated hundreds of thousands of children enslaved every year in the United States.”
Other anti-trafficking efforts this month came through videos involving federal agency administrators including Robin Hutcheson of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Shailen Bhatt of the Federal Highway Administration.
Among various efforts by the Department of Transportation, the government noted that it’s rechartered the Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, which will develop a counter-trafficking report with recommendations on addressing crimes.
“Every year, human traffickers seek to use America’s transportation systems to facilitate unspeakable crimes,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.
Cyrus noted that people can go through the organization’s training and realize a victim could be their child, family member or neighbor.
"If there were no buyers, there would be no traffickers,” she said, but the training helps demonstrate how the trucking industry is particularly positioned to help stop it.