By Desiree Williams
Carmel-based Protective Insurance, a trucking fleet insurer, has entered a year-long partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking to aid in its mission of combating human trafficking. TAT is a nonprofit dedicated to educating and equipping truck drivers and travel industry agents with the tools to identify and stop trafficking on the highways.
“Truckers are the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways, and often in places where traffickers will try to exploit their victims,” said Laura Cyrus, TAT operations director. “Since truck drivers are already vigilant, observant and traveling all over our country, they are an excellent resource to law enforcement in calling in tips, which ultimately help to recover victims and put traffickers away.”
Through the partnership, TAT will provide educational materials for Protective to share with the community. Jim Shertzer, director of marketing strategy and analysis at Protective, said employees will share that information with policyholders and agent partners that sell insurance.
“With our connection to the industry as an insurance company, we have many different avenues in which we can get (TAT’s) message in front of more people to understand the importance of being aware of what’s going on out there,” Shertzer said.
Cyrus said she hopes that when safety directors of trucking companies receive the information, they will require their drivers to go through TAT training, which consists of a 26-minute online video, a quiz and obtaining a wallet card with tips and warning signs. Cyrus said TAT has trained almost 500,000 people.
“Truckers Against Trafficking’s goal with this partnership is to ultimately see more people trained and equipped to be a part of this work, while also shining a spotlight on our partner and the ways they’ve found to get involved,” she said.
In October, Protective will be home to Truckers Against Trafficking’s Freedom Drivers Project, a tractor-trailer that serves as a mobile exhibit for visitors to learn about human trafficking, read stories and see artifacts from cases. Shertzer said Protective wants to collaborate with law enforcement for a community event this year as well.
Signs of trafficking
- Does the victim know where she/he is? Oftentimes, pimps move their victims from place to place so that they can form relationships and don’t know where to go for help.
- Does she/he have any ID? Traffickers will usually take and hold a victim’s identification documents.
- Does the victim talk about having to make a quota?
- Are there any signs of branding on the victim, perhaps the arm, lower back, neck or inner lip?
“All of these things can help a driver determine whether or not they’re looking at a victim,” said Laura Cyrus, Truckers Against Trafficking operations director. “But of course, the two most obvious signs are if a minor is selling commercial sex or there is any sign of pimp control, as pimps can and do stay on the premises from time to time, or they often drop off girls in multiple numbers, or can even be involved in the bartering process.”
To learn more or report possible human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 1-888-373-7888.