American Trucking Associations has joined Truckers Against Trafficking for the launch of the Man to Man Campaign, an effort to eliminate the demand for human trafficking throughout the transportation industry by inviting men to speak out about the inhuman practices of sex traffickers to individuals who demand their services.
“Our industry’s voice is powerful. From truck drivers to dock workers to dispatchers throughout the supply chain, if we can continue talking to one another about the atrocity that is human trafficking, we can make substantial progress toward our goal of eliminating it,” said ATA COO Elisabeth Barna at a press conference on Capitol Hill. “Now that our industry is aware that human trafficking is a problem, we want to challenge trucking to take the next step in its eradication. That starts by having difficult conversations with people in our communities, but we know we’re up for the challenge.”
Truckers Against Trafficking, as the preeminent trucking organization focused on addressing the issue of trafficking, has long fought to raise awareness about the problem and train industry professionals to identify and report instances of trafficking. Today, alongside Demand Abolition, Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking, ATA’s America’s Road Team, UPS and Walmart, Truckers Against Trafficking launched the Man to Man Campaign.
The Man to Man Campaign is founded on the belief that if there were no demand for commercial sex, then sex trafficking would not exist. Truckers Against Trafficking seeks to join together a chorus of voices by putting the spotlight on some of the most vigilant professional drivers in the trucking industry. To that end, TAT is featuring drivers who advocate strongly against and keep an eye out for trafficking on their website, social media pages, and on banners at speaking engagements throughout the country. The banners will also flank TAT’s Freedom Drivers Project, a touring tractor-trailer exhibition about human trafficking that stops at trucking’s major events.
According to national survey results from Demand Abolition, 20% of adult men ages 18-64 have bought or would consider buying commercial sex if the circumstances permitted. Further, approximately 35% of men have searched online sex ads but not engaged in the transaction. Data suggests that of the men who search online sex ads, most of their search activity happens during the work day and many prostitution transactions happen on the way to work, during lunch, or immediately after work.
Employers can create policies to mitigate the potential risk and protect employees from harm. Increasingly, major transportation brands and corporations are positioned to leverage their industry leadership and economic influence to raise awareness about the issue and effect change.
“At the very root of the sex trafficking and sexual exploitation epidemic sweeping our nation and world is the demand,” said Truckers Against Trafficking Deputy Director Kylla Lanier. “The prostituted person, and more recently, the traffickers have been the focus of attention and arrests, while the buyer goes home with a warning. This must change. Traffickers meet the demand for commercial sex by luring their victims into this life and keeping them there through force, fraud or coercion. If there were no money to be made, they wouldn’t pursue this criminal activity.”
“We must turn our attention to the demand if we want to truly put an end to this heinous and life-shattering crime.” Lanier continued. “When all is said and done, if there is no buyer, there would be no victim.”
Truckers Against Trafficking, as part of today’s campaign launch, created a webpage dedicated to the Man to Man Campaign. Users can visit the webpage to learn more about how private sector stakeholders are addressing the issue, learn how to react to signs of human trafficking, and discover ways to share the Man to Man Campaign message with individuals in their communities.
Truckers Against Trafficking-trained truck driver, John McKown, of UPS Freight and America’s Road Team, recently presented on his experiences as a TAT-trained advocate during TED@UPS, a TED Talk series featuring UPS leaders. In his powerful TED Talk, McKown advocates for colleagues in the industry not to turn a blind eye away from trafficking and shares some ways drivers can get started as allies on America’s highways.
The trucking industry plays a central role in eradicating modern-day slavery from the nation’s transportation systems. As part of ATA’s efforts to help train the industry’s 7.4 million trucking industry employees in human trafficking awareness, ATA recommends trucking companies and drivers visit the official Truckers Against Trafficking website. Truck drivers are also asked to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline to report suspicious behavior related to human trafficking at 1-888-373-7888.