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TAT and WIT pilot program to combat human trafficking

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) and Women in Trucking (WIT) are looking for 25 women drivers to participate in a three-month pilot program handing out lip balm with a special message on them to girls and women who might be human trafficking victims.

“We are excited to see our partnership with WIT move to the next level, and truly believe this campaign has great potential to reach victims with the help they so desperately need," says Kendis Paris, TAT executive director.

Women, by virtue of their gender, often have greater opportunity to interact with and show compassion to minors and adult women (away from their pimps and without suspicion), who may be the victims of forced prostitution. This interaction may occur in public restrooms at truck stops or travel plazas, in a hotel/motel lobby, at a laundromat or even in a restaurant. That interaction, either via the message on the lip balm (if the girl is able to act on it) or the phone call a driver makes -- if human trafficking is suspected -- could directly lead to victim rescue.  A similar program in Kentucky resulted in a spike of victim calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-3737-888 requesting help.

To harness this potential for female interaction, TAT and WIT are launching this three-month pilot to run from July 7-Sept. 30, 2014. If successful, the program has the potential to expand across the United States with an unlimited number of drivers participating. Participating drivers in the pilot will be responsible to hand out specially printed lip balms to those they think might be human trafficking victims and to engage them in conversation, if that is possible. At the end of each interaction, participating drivers will need to write down specific data regarding the exchange, as well as report potential human trafficking situations to the NHTRC.

An online training webinar for the 25 women will take place on June 24, 2014 from 5:30-6:30 CST. It will cover how to approach and interact with potential victims as well as understand the field data that needs to be documented after each exchange.