The group “Truckers Against Trafficking” was honored by federal lawmakers for working to save young women from sexual exploitation by human trafficking networks.
The group was presented the award by the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, a group of bipartisan members of the House of Representatives, at a ceremony on Capitol Hill on April 22. The award was meant to recognize the efforts of the group for their efforts in preventing and quelling human trafficking that truckers may observe on the road.
“I strongly feel the trucking industry has the opportunity to play a pivotal role in the fight against human trafficking in the sense that we’re not only the eyes and ears of the highways . . . but we’ve got the means of communicating with one another from out there on the road,” truck driver Bill Brady, a native of New York Mills, Minn., was quoted as saying in a story for Transport Topics, a trucking industry news site.
The award was one of several presented at the ceremony by the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus. The ceremony was designed to recognize those who did work in supporting victims’ rights.
“Those 18-wheelers you see all across the country every day, they are involved in helping stop the scourge of trafficking,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who is a co-founder of the caucus. “This work is incredibly important as trafficking victims are moved around the country and they are, unfortunately, in and out of a truck stop. The truckers use that as an advantage to be able to call law enforcement to help stop this scourge.”
Truckers Against Trafficking was founded as a part of a Christian ministry group, and works to educate drivers and the public about how young women get pulled into human trafficking networks against their will.” Brady said assuredly that the young women who become involved in trafficking are not “out there because they want to be there. They are being forced.”
The group keeps a 24-hour hotline, where truck drivers who observe what they suspect to be human trafficking cases, can report them. Truckers Against Trafficking then reports the activities to local law enforcement agencies so that they may investigate.
The award presented to the group was named after the late Suzanne McDaniel, a prosecutor from Texas who may have been one of the first prosecutor-based victims’ rights advocates in the country. McDaniel founded the Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse, the first statewide victims’ rights resource in the U.S.