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​A 15-year-old girl and her 14-year-old cousin were kidnapped by a local prostitution ring in Ohio. They were repeatedly taken to a truck stop and forced to go from truck to truck soliciting drivers. The girls were terrified as multiple drivers paid to have sex with them.

Any minor engaged in commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking, a modern day form of slavery. It’s a $32 billion industry but one organization is working to help put an end to it. Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a nonprofit that exists to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking and travel plaza industry to combat domestic sex trafficking.

The average age of someone entering prostitution is 13-years-old. It’s not just children from other countries, as some might assume. There are children taken here in the U.S. and forced or coerced into prostitution. The traffickers who take them will often torture and rape them, breaking the children down until the trafficker has full control over them and they are ready to work a truck stop or other location.

How drivers can help

Truck drivers are the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways. They are often in locations where traffickers bring minors to be prostituted, such as truck stops or rest stops. Because of that, truck drivers are more likely to be approached by someone being prostituted or to witness an exchange. Trafficking victims may exhibit the following red flags:

  • Not knowing where they are or anything about the area
  • Don’t have any identification on them
  • Not allowed to speak for themselves
  • Appear scared, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense or nervous

If drivers suspect the minor is being prostituted, they should not approach the trafficker. It is dangerous for the driver and the minor. Instead, drivers should immediately call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. The hotline will alert the FBI and local police to investigate the situation and hopefully rescue the victim(s). Or drivers can simply call 911 and explain the situation and their location. If a driver is actually approached by a minor, he or she should turn down the offer and report the incident immediately.

When calling the hotline, drivers should be prepared to provide specific information that law enforcement can act on such as: 

  • date and time of the incident
  • license plate number
  • vehicle make, model and color
  • address or nearest highway exit
  • pictures and/or description of the traffickers and victims (i.e. race, gender, age)

Most importantly, drivers shouldn’t ignore the situation. One call can save a life.

How fleets can help

Discuss this issue at your next safety meeting and educate your drivers on what to look for and what actions to take if they suspect someone is being trafficked. TAT has created a free training video that you can show to your drivers to help them understand this serious issue. You can view the video online at or contact TAT to request DVD copies.

Among other resources available on their website, TAT offers a wallet card with a list of red flags to look for, questions to ask the individual suspected of being prostituted and the national hotline number. Distribute the wallet cards to your drivers and emphasize that your fleet wants them to make the call and report suspicious behavior. The national hotline is anonymous and there are no repercussions if the caller turns out to be wrong about the situation.

A truck driver saw the 15-year-old and her cousin working a truck stop and called authorities. Because of that one phone call, not only were the two girls saved, but the case caught a break resulting in the rescue of seven other minors, the conviction of 31 offenders and it shut down a 13-state prostitution ring. Take action to educate your drivers on this issue and empower them to make the call when needed.

Join Protective in the Pledge to Report Human Trafficking. Sign the pledge online here.

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  • Transportation Safety
  • Health & Wellness
  • Driver Management