By Dr. Stacey Little, Program Director, Transportation and Logistics Management at American Public University
There has been a lot written about the linkage between transportation and the United States economy. The integrated highway system in the United States provides transit for supply chain partners to connect. This type of freight movement contributes to economic productivity, but the sad truth is our roads are being used for less promising movements.
The truck drivers carrying goods between supply chain partners or to the end consumer are traveling some of the same highways, roads and, routes that human trafficking networks travel each day for their illegal operations. Human traffickers misuse the U.S. transportation systems for their personal agenda—a dangerous agenda that destroys lives.
When we hear about human trafficking, it is usually international cases happening in underdeveloped countries. Human trafficking is a heinous crime that takes place in our nation. These crimes can occur anywhere from a small town of a few thousand to a large metropolis. Human trafficking is one of the largest growing criminal industries second to drug trafficking.
There is a concern that people don’t realize what a huge problem human trafficking is within our borders. Increased knowledge and education on this topic can help change what traffickers feel is a low-risk business to a high-risk business because of the increased awareness of this crime.
Human trafficking has been reported in each state. Nearly 100,000 to 300,000 American children are at risk.
With approximately 20 million people enslaved and 30 million victims of human trafficking throughout the world, many organizations have stepped up to provide awareness and protection of human trafficking victims. One of these highly involved and responsive organizations is Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). This organization is a national network of truck drivers that disseminate information cards to truck drivers to help them recognize human trafficking activity and victims.
Some of the initiatives and resources TAT has taken to combat human trafficking are:
- Training videos
- Informational wallet cards
- Spread the number to call if human trafficking is suspected
- Build coalitions between law enforcement, organization fighting against human trafficking and local businesses
TAT is making an enormous impact in the efforts to combat human trafficking. They realize they are the eyes and ears on our nation’s highways. Victims of human trafficking are transported on the same roads we travel each day. A high hope is they do not go unnoticed and a call or report saves a life.
About the Author: Dr. Stacey Little is the Program Director for Transportation and Logistics Management at American Public University. She has more than 12 years of experience in teaching in business and logistics in both the online and traditional format. She has a professional designation in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and a certification in Transportation and Logistics from the American Society of Transportation and Logistics. Her research interests are in the area of cultural influences on supply-chain relationships.