Professional truck driver for 30+ years
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) Certified
While I was at the Georgia Truck Driving Championships in the early 2000s, I was approached by a TAT representative who was educating drivers about what the organization. I went through the process to become certified and learned what the common signs of human trafficking so that I would know what to look for while on the road. TAT opened my eyes to the human trafficking crisis.
I learned the signs to watch and listen for that someone that may be in a human trafficking situation may be presenting. I wish we could get every truck driver that has a CDL TAT trained. It’s so easy. It’s as easy as sitting at your computer or downloading an app. Whenever truck drivers get ready to haul our loads every day, we do a pre-trip on our tractors and trailers. We know what to look for; we’ve been trained on what to look for. It’s the same with human trafficking; you’ve got to be trained.
After learning more about human trafficking and the warning signs, I believe that I came across a victim earlier in his career before I was TAT certified. One night, I pulled into a gas station with my colleagues to park our truck for the evening while on a delivery to Orlando, Florida. We were followed into the parking lot and a car pulled up next to their truck. A young teenage girl came out of the car dressed provocatively. She started towards us and offered commercial sex that night. The age of the young girl and the fact that this young girl was with an older lady that looked like a grandmother concerned me. I knew it my heart and my gut that something was wrong. We told her we weren’t interested and the left. Knowing now what I know, I wish I would have known back then. I believe that older woman was in control of that girl. If that was to happen to me now, I would know what to do.
Since becoming TAT certified, I work to educate others about the warning signs of human trafficking and what to do if they encounter a human trafficking situation. I have also participated in speaking engagements as a TAT ambassador, including a mayors conference in Florida, which was a great and valuable experience since many of the mayors were not aware that there are organizations like TAT that offer training to the public.