Did you know the average age of a girl trafficked in the US is 12. This girl is probably someone like your sister, your daughter, your friend's daughter. These aren't hardened criminals choosing this lifestyle. These are young women who are attacked, taken advantage of, abused and raped up to 14 times a night.
Ever since moving to our new home my heart has gone out to that truck stop. I wondered if girls were trafficked there at night. I wondered if anyone has been fighting to help girls in the area stay safe. I stopped by once and walked around. I saw that they had a truckers lounge inside but I didn't go inside. I didn't actually go outside to where the trucks were parked, I was too afraid.
Finally, when my heart couldn't take it anymore I decided I needed to try to do something more than just walk around helplessly. I kept hearing the evil one say "you are only one person, what can you do?" I felt powerless and under qualified to help these girls but I knew God wouldn't have burned this into my heart if He didn't have a plan. Then I remembered that there is a group, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) that help these girls. They have resources, they have hotline numbers, they know how to help. I friended them on Facebook so I would get updated details (click HERE to do that too) and then went to their website (http://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/). I found printable posters and cards you can hand out (click HERE to go there). Then I printed out posters and cards and this morning I went back to the truck stop. I asked to speak to the manager and talked with the lady working the front cash register while I waited. She told me they went through training to spot prostitution there. That's great! In the end, the manager was in a meeting and not available. She did go interrupt and speak to him for a moment and he said they would hand out the documentation that I had printed if I would leave it with them. I pray that the right people will see the information and battle the trafficking that is happening throughout our land. Who knows where the men and women truck drivers that stop at this truck stop will stop next and what they will see.
Don't feel like you are just one person and can have no impact. It may be the move that you make towards boldness for these women, these sisters, that saves a life. Also, while you are out and about in your own life be aware of your surroundings and report anything that looks suspicious to 1-888-3737-888.
Details about what can be suspicious from TAT website:
Asking the right question will help you determine if the person in front of you is a victim of trafficking who needs your help, such as:
- What type of work do you do?
- Are you being paid?
- Can you leave your job if you want to?
- Can you come and go as you please?
- Have you or your family been threatened?
- What are your working and living conditions like?
- Where do you eat and sleep?
- Do you have to ask permission to eat/sleep/go to the bathroom?
- Are there locks on your doors/windows so you can’t get out?
- Has your identification or documentation been taken from you?
- Is a process (not usually an event) that evolves into slavery or debt bondage.
- Has a strong economic motive … take away the probability and you take away the motive.
- Sex trafficking is mostly about profit, not sex.
- Labor bondage is completely about economics … make corporations responsible how they do business and how they police their sub-contractors, and it will help a lot.
- Trafficking is not smuggling. Smuggling involves the element of transportation, wiliness or consent and no implied coercion. A traffic victim may have started out being smuggled, but it turns into bondage.
- Trafficking does not imply transportation being involved – trafficking is commercial selling or commercial profiting.
Three major contributors to making people vulnerable to being trafficked
- Escaping from a very difficult situation (like domestic violence or poverty)
- Seeking the Big City, bright lights, hopes and dreams for better life.
- Migrating due to poverty or war or seeking better life.
Traffickers often “coach” victims to answer questions with a cover story. They may have a well-rehearsed story but will be unable to provide details to simple questions that are easy for free people to answer like:
- Where do you buy food?
- Where do you buy clothes?
- Where do you go to school?
If you come across a situation where you believe human trafficking is taking place, do not approach the trafficker, as this can be very dangerous. Call the National Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888. Be part of ending the nightmare of human trafficking.
I have included below the documents that I remade from what TAT had online. (I conserve ink and their posters looked great but had a lot of black background.) Consider where you could print and distribute these items.