That’s what my dad called truck drivers.
Once upon a time, truckers would stop to help a car stranded on the road or pick up a hitchhiker. And like my husband, provide a way for him to see his family and/or return him to college. Times changed and these ‘princes’ gained a bad reputation in the back lots where they parked their trucks. Thanks to Truckers Against Trafficking /TAT that has changed.
While writing 18 WHEELER, I learned about Truckers Against Trafficking. John is one of these princes – a TAT driver trained like other truck drivers to be the ‘eyes of the road.’ They fight an ever growing problem that curses our world. Human Trafficking…where many women and children get trapped at sex slaves.
This underground malady was once seen as the prostitute’s choice and went ignored by society and/or placed the guilt on the woman. Ironically, as TAT revealed, it is more the pimps and johns that promote and supply this nightmare. Both young boys and girls are victims.
Domestic Sex Trafficking is world-wide, with thousands of victims alone in the USA, in all 50 states. Victims are lured, kidnapped, coerced from schools, stalked online and in shopping malls.
In 2007 Truckers Against Trafficking began as a part of Chapter 31 Ministries, but soon realized that it needed to be its own 501(c)3. So in 2009 TAT was born with a mission to “educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking and travel industry to combat domestic sex trafficking.” The mission is to “educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking and travel industry to combat domestic sex trafficking.”
As a result Truckers Against Trafficking has developed:
- Freedom Drivers Project – A one of a kind mobile exhibit – using a 48 ‘ trailer to educate members of the entire trucking industry, along with law enforcement and the general public on domestic sex trafficking. To date:142 presentations have been attended and 5,068 people have visited at 35 events. Also, 921 law enforcement have been TAT trained and growing.
- Industry Training Program – “Truck drivers are being trained to be ‘the eyes’ of the road. So far,1,378,429 have been trained and it’s growing.
- Shipping Partners Program – TAT training is now being made available to the entire shipping industry. Corporate management is taking an active roll as well as providing necessary supplies. Hundreds have joined TAT and that number is growing.
- Coalition Builds – This program brings law enforcement agencies, managers of truck stops, trucking companies and state associations on all levels together with TAT to provide training for anti-trafficking activities in their area. To date 637 people have been trained and growing.
- State Based Initiatives – States are showing their support as DMVs, DOTs, State Highway Patrols to help spread the TAT anti-trafficking message. Currently, 48 states have adopted TAT initiatives and12 states now require TAT training. Approximately 921 law enforcement officers are being TAT trained and that too is growing.
- TAT Dealership Partner Program – Manufacturers from the entire trucking industry have chosen to not only support but help raise awareness. Now, 66 new carriers resulting in 69,471 drivers thatare TAT trained and growing.
Trucker Against Trafficking has not stopped here.
- TAT Canada was launched in 2019 and is now providing training. AT this time 7,737 drivers are TAT trained and is growing,
- Busing On The Lookout /BOTL has taken TAT’s challenge to their roads and are training bus drivers to be ‘the eyes’ as well. Greyhound, Coach USA/Megabus plus 70 private bus companies are participating. 167,648+ drivers are trained, as well as 245 transit agencies, 80 bus companies, and 1900 school districts in 50 states And that is growing!!!
(Stats from TATs 2021 annual report)
Truckers Against Trafficking proves that together, we all can make a difference and stop this living hell. And now truck drivers and other drivers have regained the title pf the true ‘princes and princesses’ of the road. They are the eyes out there making a difference and making the world a better and safer place. Let ‘s join them.
Visit: TRUCKERS AGAINST TRAFFICKING.ORG for more about this amazing group and please donate and support the training on the amazing attempt to help victims out of their hell. Call 612-888-2050 for more.
My latest book MIRRORED REFLECTIONS confronts the issue of child kidnapping when Sierra was kidnapped as a child and has escaped this hell. But, will it let her. For more information about 18 WHEELER and MIRRORED REFLECTIONS as well as my other books…visit JFRidgley.com Be sure to sign up for my very infrequent newsletter.