Walmart drivers, along with other professional drivers, spend a lot of time on the road—and that puts them in a unique position to help those vulnerable to human trafficking.
Human trafficking, considered modern-day slavery, is the exploitation of another person through force, fraud or coercion. Forced labor, domestic servitude and involuntary prostitution are considered types of human trafficking.
“While the initial purchase of victims may occur online, the real-time sale of victims can happen in many locations, including truck stops, restaurants, rest areas, hotels/motels, strip clubs, private homes, etc.,” explains Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). This national nonprofit organization was founded in 2009 and trains truck drivers to recognize and report human trafficking.
A New Perspective
Road Team member Antoine Sadler was introduced to the organization in 2015 when he was sent by Walmart to a TAT conference.
Before he joined TAT, Antoine says he thought activity he saw while out on the road wasn’t his business. “I would say you made a bad choice, and I would keep moving,” he recalls. Going through the training provided by TAT opened his eyes. “It changed a lot of my thinking.”
Since then, Antoine has gotten heavily involved with TAT, doing radio and podcast interviews and helping to make a commercial. He now serves on the organization’s board of directors. A lot of his work is just trying to get the word out. Whenever he’s at a hiring event, Antoine passes out wallet cards produced by TAT. The cards include red flags that could signal trafficking and when to call law enforcement.
Drivers can help by being observant and noticing what’s going on around them. If a situation doesn’t look right, they can call local law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Hotline immediately at 1-888-373-7888.
One driver Antoine knows found a suspicious book in his hotel room. He called the authorities and an investigation was started. “Now everybody's taking a look at it. You got law enforcement noticing this is going on in the area. You’ve got the hotel looking into it,” he says. “Just by that one driver being educated.”
Impact, by the Numbers
According to estimates from American Trucking Associations, TAT has had a real impact:
- 1,014,367 trucking professionals are registered as TAT trained
- 2,692 calls have been made to the national hotline by truck drivers
- 708 likely cases have been investigated
- 1,296 victims have been identified
Learn more about Truckers Against Trafficking, including how to support the organization and training information.