Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery in which people are sold or used for labor or sex, including prostitution. The people who are subject to this type of slavery are diverse and include men, women, teenagers, and children as young as toddlers. Sex trafficking predominately involves girls who are under the age of 18. The victims of this type of human trafficking are transported to various locations and are forced, coerced or threatened into performing sexual acts. These acts often occur in places such as massage parlors, residential brothels and at truck stops. Truck stops are one of the most common places for the sex trafficking of minors. This is partially due to the isolated nature of truck stops and the number of people who stop in and out of them. This has become a major problem and a potential threat to all children. The best way to stop sex trafficking is to review the available information on human trafficking in order to educate oneself on what it is and how to help stop it. This is the case for some truckers who have taken an active role of intervention.
- Polaris Project: Sex Trafficking at Truck Stops: This link opens up a page on the Polaris Project website. It reviews the sex trafficking aspect of human trafficking that takes place at truck stops. The article addresses what constitutes trafficking, characteristics of trafficking, and why it is difficult to stop it.
- Human Trafficking – Modern Day Slavery: This is a PDF report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The page provides the reader with an overview of trafficking by defining it, describing who the victims are and how they became a part of trafficking. It reviews victims mentality, statistics and outlines where trafficking occurs.
- FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin – Human Sex Trafficking: This link leads to a bulletin on the FBI website. The article reviews the scope of human trafficking, provides some statistics, and details regarding how human trafficking is investigated.
- Case Study:Truck Stops: This is a PDF document that reviews the human/sex trafficking at truck stops. Unique characteristics and statistics are discussed.
Financially, human trafficking is big business for criminals. It is an activity that is worth over $30 billion a year. Often truckers are charged between $40 to $80 for an encounter with a victim. Because girls are required to meet a quota that may range up to $1,000 a night, they may be forced to have sex with as many as 15 truckers or more in a night. The children who are victims of human trafficking at truck stops are from both the U.S. and other countries. There are as many as 300,000 American children who are at risk of sex trafficking and over 17,000 foreign children who are victimized. Traffickers use several routes to attract johns at truck stops. Customers are frequently solicited over the CB using code words that refers to the availability of a minor for sex or they may search online boards. Truckers who are interested in sex with the victims may place stickers on their window or flash their headlights. Although truckers play a role in the problem, not all participate or support the sex trafficking that takes place. Many truckers are starting to take up the cause that has been introduced and promoted by Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). These truckers have gained valuable (information on human trafficking) and as a result are making an effort to help end the problem. These truckers look out for and report any signs of sex trafficking.
- NATSO Prevention and Intervention: Combating Human Trafficking Through the Trucking Industry: On this page readers are given information regarding human trafficking. Readers can scroll through a powerpoint presentation.
- NPR: With a Phone Call, Truckers Can Fight Sex Trafficking: This page includes both an audio and an article on how truckers can help combat sex trafficking. There is also a section entitled “Trafficking by the Numbers.”
- Truckers Unite Against Human Trucking: This is a NBC News 9 article about human trafficking in Colorado. The article includes a video.
- Fox News – Truckers Band Together to Fight Human Trafficking: This is a video on Fox News that discusses human trafficking and children. The video starts with statistics and information about the sex trafficking industry. It also discusses trucking and how the industry can report suspicious activity.
Numerous local and state agencies have been established to help fight all aspects of human trafficking, including the sex trafficking at truck stops. On a Federal level there have also been numerous laws established that are designed to help victims of trafficking. In 2000 the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was passed by Congress. This law focuses on the international aspect of trafficking through public awareness, protection, and prosecution. In 2003 he PROTECT Act of 2003 was established to protect children from sexual exploitation. Section 7202 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 addresses human trafficking and the smuggling of aliens in addition to terrorist travel.
- Department of Homeland Security – Human Trafficking Laws and Regulations: Click this link to review Federal laws regarding human trafficking.
- The Covering House – Truck Stops: This page gives a very brief overview of the human trafficking that takes place at truck stops. It also outlines traits associated with sex/human trafficking at truck stops.
- People Magazine – Nightmare at the Truck Stop: This is a People Magazine article about the sex trafficking of minors at truck stops. The article interviews girls who have experienced sex trafficking.
- Houston Human Rescue and Restore Coalition Victims of Human Trafficking – Sex Trafficking at Truck Stops: This link will take readers to the website of a coalition of non-profit organizations fighting against human trafficking. On this page readers will basic information about the sex trafficking aspect of human trafficking, such as how word is spread to travelers and truckers regarding sex trafficking at certain truck stops.
- Facebook – Truckers Against Trafficking: This is the Facebook page for the organization Truckers Against Trafficking. This is an organization that encourages truckers to report suspected human trafficking in efforts to put a stop to it.
Human trafficking is a problem that has proven difficult to stop. The victims are forced into compliance by fraud, coercion and threats. When it comes to the sex trafficking that occurs at truck stops, a majority of the victims are minors. In efforts to stop these crimes, organizations such as Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) are making an effort to help victims by contacting officials.