Posts Tagged Stop Human Trafficking

National Missing Children’s Day is May 25th

Image source: U.S. Department of Justice

National Missing Children’s Day began in 1983 after several high-profile disappearances took place, including the kidnappings and murders of 6-year-olds Etan Patz and Adam Walsh, and the alarming recoveries of twenty-nine bodies of children and young adults in Atlanta. National Missing Children’s Day honors missing and abducted children while celebrating those who have been recovered. It also raises awareness of the need to improve searching for those missing.

The Problem

At the end of 2017, the FBI’s National Crime Information Center had active records on 88,089 missing persons. Children and young adults under the age of 21 accounted for 46.6 percent of the total records. Hundreds of thousands of new records are added each year, but fortunately most of these are found. The top circumstance for those who go missing is running away from home followed by abductions by non-custodial parents or strangers. One in seven of the more than 23,500 runaways reported in 2018 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely victims of sex trafficking.

Truck Drivers Can Help

Being on the road puts truck drivers in a position to be the eyes and ears that help find a missing child. The trucking industry is a hot spot for sex trafficking because truck stops are ideal places for prostitution as they have little law enforcement presence and close access to highways. Don’t intervene directly if you think you see trafficking taking place. Instead, gather as much information as you can, and then call 911 immediately if you think it’s an emergency or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline

Drivers can join several efforts that are already in place to support this important work.  Founded in 2012, The Truckers Missing Child Project uses social media like Twitter and Facebook to share information with truck drivers about missing children and Amber Alerts. The project’s secondary mission is to help end human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery, and child abuse and child porn, which often exploit missing children. Truckers Against Trafficking began in 2009 as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries. The organization’s goals include saturating trucking and busing industries with anti-trafficking materials, partnering with law enforcement and government agencies to help investigate trafficking, and working with other partners fighting against trafficking.

For more information about missing persons in Washington State, please visit:

Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs:

Washington State Missing Persons web site

Washington State Patrol Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit:

Amber and Missing Person’s Alerts

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Stop the Traffic! January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

The goal of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month is to raise awareness of the human trafficking crisis; to highlight how truck drivers can take action, and to list the warning signs of trafficking and the hotline for drivers to identify and report suspects. Modern-day slavery and human trafficking are horrific violations of human rights that occur whenever people are bought and sold for forced labor or commercial sex. The crisis is global with over 40 million enslaved people around the world today. In the United States, human trafficking exists in all 50 states, with hundreds of thousands of victims, mostly women and children, across the country. It’s also a problem in Washington State as revealed in 2018 when the Washington State Patrol’s Operation Human Freight made 59 arrests and recovered 54 potential human trafficking victims in undercover stings at truck stops and rest areas along I-5 from Federal Way to Centralia.

Human traffickers build their illegal networks by using the nation’s highways. Traffickers often prostitute their victims at truck stops, travel plazas, rest areas, restaurants, and motels. This makes truck drivers vital to the fight against human trafficking. As the eyes and ears of the highways, truck drivers are uniquely positioned to make it harder for traffickers to use the transportation system for their crimes. Indeed, truck drivers have been making a huge impact. According to Truckers Against Trafficking, from December 2007 to June 2019, truck drivers made 2496 calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which helped to identify 1230 victims. In 2017, all Washington State commercial truck driving schools began classroom training on human trafficking as a certification requirement. Trucking companies can help by including human trafficking prevention training in their company safety programs. Using a commercial motor vehicle to commit a human trafficking felony can now result in a lifetime CDL ban.

Truck drivers can help report traffickers and recover victims by using the following tips:

Look out for signs that identify trafficking victims:

  • Lack of knowledge of their whereabouts; not in control of ID / passport.
  • Restricted or controlled communication; not allowed to speak for self.
  • Any mention of making a quota or having a pimp / daddy.
  • Signs of branding or tattooing of trafficker’s name (often on the neck).
  • A van, RV or vehicle with multiple women in a mainly male area and / or dropping women off and picking them up 15-20 minutes later.
  • Signs of bruising.

Report the crime immediately:

  • If you see a crime in progress, call 911 and then call the hotline at 1-888-373-7888 (US), 1-833-900-1010 (Canada), 01800-5533-000 (Mexico), or text INFO or HELP to BeFree (233733).
  • If you’re at a truck stop / travel plaza or any other place of business, tell the manager—they must be aware of what is occurring and assist in ending it.
  • Never approach traffickers. Allow police to deal with traffickers and recover victims. Approaching traffickers is dangerous for you and their victims and can also create problems in the prosecuting the traffickers.

For law enforcement to open an investigation on your tip, they need “actionable information.” This would include:

  • Descriptions of vehicles (make, model, color, license plate, truck and / or USDOT number, etc.) and people (height, weight, hair color, eye color, age, etc.). Take a picture if you can.
  • Specific times and dates (When did you see the event in question take place? What day was it?).
  • Addresses and locations where suspicious activity took place.

Helpful links:

Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking

National Criminal Justice Reference Service

The Polaris Project

The Campaign to Restore and Rescue Victims of Human Trafficking under the US Dept. of Health and Human Services

Shared Hope International

Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network (WARN)

Washington State Attorney General’s Office

Seattle Against Slavery

International Association of Chiefs of Police

The Tronie Foundation

Washington Engage

Stop the Traffik

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