Denise George’s research into how churches can respond to human trafficking reminded me of a conversation I had last year with Mark Colson, president of the Alabama Trucking Association.
Colson shared a presentation during a summit focused on showcasing all the resources available to assist churches, businesses and individuals in the fight against human trafficking.
The trucking industry is dedicated to making a difference, Colson noted.
“Truck drivers are actually only a small percentage of the perpetrators even though they are blamed a lot,” he said.
“The trucking industry sees this as a major crisis. We are proud to be part of the solution and hope to continue to see progress on this front.”
Of the 3.6 million professional truck drivers in the U.S., one-third (1.2 million) of them have received the Truckers Against Trafficking training, Colson said.
“Awareness is what it’s all about. Education is the key.”
Leaders with Truckers Against Trafficking, known as TAT for short, say professional drivers typically undergo their training for three reasons:
- Truckers realize it’s the right thing to do.
“Truckers say, ‘We are out here anyway and watching it occur. Now we have a platform, an organized way to deal with it,’” Colson explained.
- Truckers are already fighting a difficult perception of the industry.
“While they know there are some bad apples, the majority are good, and the drivers don’t want a bad image on the industry.”
- Some truckers have personal experience with abuse or with human trafficking.
“Someone from their family, community, etc., has been trafficked, and they know the stories,” Colson said. “Those drivers are highly motivated.”
TAT’s training provides information on how to identify a trafficking situation and what to do and what not to do once it is identified.
“For instance, it’s important not to approach the traffickers,” he said.
Instead, contact law enforcement with a report of suspected human trafficking with the location, date and time.
“Also, provide a description of the vehicle, license plate and estimated height and weight of the people involved if possible.
“We have tremendous stories of reconciliation even amid the tragic stories,” Colson noted.
“It’s helpful for any organization, church group or community group, not just truck drivers.”
‘We have a choice’
“Once we become enlightened, we have a choice,” he said. “We can take action or we can ignore, but we are not left with the luxury of ignorance.”
For more information, visit:
Southern Baptists entities offer aid to trafficking victims as well as resources and training to help churches respond
National WMU and WMU Foundation along with the combined efforts of IMB and NAMB (through their Send Relief compassion ministry) have designated resources to aid in the fight against human trafficking.
From wmu.com: Check out Christian Women’s Job Corps, Christian Men’s Job Corps, WorldCrafts and educational resources such as:
Trafficked: Fighting to Be Free — an hour-long simulation that teaches students the realities surrounding human trafficking and how to help rescued victims.
Human Trafficking: The Church’s Response — a self-guided, online mini-course on the issue.
From the wmufoundation.com: Read about the Judith and David Hayes Endowment to Combat Human Trafficking.
From sendrelief.org: Learn about centers in New Orleans and Las Vegas that minister directly to victims of human trafficking in the U.S. and find out what efforts are taking place internationally.
Send Relief also seeks to mobilize the local church in the fight. A variety of resources and prayer guides are available to download.