The California Trucking Association is officially joining the “Sacramento Together” coalition - a group of law enforcement agencies, and non-profits targeting human traffickers.
Kylla Lanier of Truckers against Trafficking says the wide reach of professional drivers is a perfect fit.
“Truckers are the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways,” said Lanier. “They see things other people don’t. They’re trained to be vigilant. Quite frankly, they might be interacting with human trafficking victims through the normal course of their job.”
Driver Kevin Kimmel saved a young girl three years ago by reporting unusual activity involving an RV parked at a truck stop in Virginia.
“It was obvious what was going on in there,” said Lanier. “I saw what I though was a young girl look out. She abruptly pulled away. That’s when I made the decision to call the police.
Kimmel now travels the country asking fellow drivers to stay alert and report signs of suspicious activity.
“We all have gut feelings,” Kimmel explained. “My world has a natural ebb and flow. When things don’t fit, it’s not just obvious to me – it’s obvious to all of us who do this for a living.”
Truckers against Trafficking offers drivers window decals with the words “Do You Need Help?” and the organization’s Human Trafficking Hotline number, 1-888-3737-888. It also includes “Text INFO or HELP to BeFree (233733).”
“We’ve actually heard reports from truck drivers that they’ve seen girls writing down the numbers and texting,” Lanier added.
She says something as simple as posting a decal in your window or reporting suspicious activity could save someone from a life of exploitation.