In 2012, the United Nations officially declared September 5 as International Charity Day. Thousands of organizations around the world observe this day by platforming charities that are making positive impacts. And today, we honor one of our newest partners, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), a 501c3, by helping share their voice and mission.
Truckers against trafficking
The battle against human exploitation and slavery
There is a direct link between human trafficking and global supply chain manufacturing and distribution. Organizations within the United States are continuing to outsource the manufacturing of goods and services to countries with lower labor standards. As a result, these organizations are leaving themselves vulnerable to contributing to forced labor practices within the nation and abroad.
Globally, there are over 40 million slaves today, with human trafficking being reported in all 50 states. The number of victims in the United States is estimated in the hundreds of thousands and growing.
“TAT helps fight this very issue every day,” said Lyn Leeburg, TAT’s Co-Founder and Communications Director. “In 2009, we started Truckers Against Trafficking to work with the trucking industry. Truck drivers were often in places targeted by traffickers to sell their victims, like truck stops. Now, we’re on a mission to educate, equip, empower, and mobilize our members to combat human trafficking as part of their everyday jobs.”
The truckers comprise a mobile army of transportation professionals who assist law enforcement in the recognition and reporting of human trafficking. This aids law enforcement officials in the recovery of victims and the arrest of their perpetrators.
“We also work with shippers and manufacturers,” said Leeburg, “who hire carriers to educate them on all they can do. This includes influencing their carriers to become TAT Trained, as well as cleaning up their supply chains to fight human trafficking.”
TAT has taken an industry-specific, grass-roots approach to solving one of the world’s largest issues. Identifying truckers as the eyes and ears of the US, TAT believes these men and women are in a unique position to make a difference. They help close loopholes to traffickers who seek to exploit the transportation system for their personal gain.
Professional truck drivers are trained to be extremely observant. Also, they are used to being entrusted with caring for other people’s goods valued into the multi-millions. In this way, they serve as critical front-line heroes protecting not just cargo, but also people’s livelihood. Now, they’re taking the next step to help protect people’s very lives.
With the right training and information, truckers can identify and report suspicious activity and trafficking patterns. This can save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives locally and globally.
Additionally, TAT works to build close relationships between state and federal law enforcement and members of the trucking industry through half-day events called Coalition Builds. Together, Coalition Builds participants work to find solutions to diminish human trafficking through strategic initiatives and partnerships.
“Human trafficking is a complex problem that requires a multi-faceted approach to be eliminated. Clean supply chain public policy is one such approach that is necessary to enact change,” said Barry Conlon, Overhaul’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder. “The work that Truckers Against Trafficking does every day is beyond praiseworthy. As a global leader in supply chain risk management, it is our social responsibility to help organizations like TAT succeed.”
Helping TAT and truck drivers succeed
Long haul drivers and owner operators can play a role in making the industry safer. But they can only help those in need if they get the support they themselves need. The trucking industry can be demanding, and mental health issues are far from uncommon. Driver shortages, cargo theft, and unexpected disruptions can also lead to added pressures and stress.
Overhaul’s visibility solutions can help remove some of this stress by providing an extra set of eyes. We help ensure shipments are on time and safe, which offers peace of mind. We also alert drivers to weather-related hazards, potential instances of cargo theft, and more.
With the aid of these solutions, we hope to make it easier for drivers to do their jobs and play a role in supporting TAT’s mission.