Thanks to Truckers Against Trafficking, CHET and Musket are able to train students and drivers about human trafficking. Although, Truckers Against Trafficking is an American organization they have recently expanded into Canada. It’s an unfortunate reality that Ontario in particular is a hub of human trafficking in Canada. Truck drivers are in the unique position to be able to identify and report human trafficking if they are simply made aware of what to look for.
The grassroots organization, Truckers Against Trafficking – TAT, created a video to help educate all drivers. TAT stipulates that pimps are transient and truck drivers are normally in areas that pimps prostitute their victims. Sex trafficking is modern day slavery and the average age for trafficked victims ranges between 13 and 15. Signs to look out for include the following:
- Minors selling sex.
- Noncommercial vehicles at truck stops with many women.
- Radio chatter about “making a quota” or other terms such as “daddy”, “family”, “folks” and “stable”.
- Flashing headlights signaling at a truck stop at night.
If you notice any of the above, contact the Canadian or US hotline immediately. The hotlines are available 24/7. The more details you are able to capture the better. If possible, note down a license plate, description of the individuals involved, and take photos if you feel it’s safe to do so. An additional step to take would be to inform the General Manager of the property where you witnessed signs for human trafficking.
Even though the TAT video is captured from the American perspective, most of the information is comparable to the situation in Canada. The training portion is applicable to all drivers in Canada, US or Mexico. The organization has officially expanded into Canada with its newly formed TAT Canada Committee (TCC). You can learn more about their training opportunities and footprint in Canada here.
Liz Williamson, TAT Training Specialist and our primary contact has shared with us the following quote:
“As a survivor of human trafficking, I am privileged to work for a company where I truly believe in its mission. TAT began in 2009 to educate, equip, and empower members of the trucking, and now bus and energy industries to identify human trafficking and report it to law enforcement. We know that many drivers on the road can be eyes and ears to see what others may miss simply because of a lack of knowledge. Anyone who has a desire to make a difference in this fight against human trafficking and its growing problems can watch our free training video and receive the education they need to make a difference.”
This statement from Liz highlights the importance in uploading their free training material to our student portal for both trainees and licensed drivers to access. It’s our responsibility to also shine a light on the situation in our country and even more so, within our province. In Ontario there have been a lot of recent updates with regards to legislation and official reports.
This week, Ontario introduced a new anti-human trafficking legislation titled the Combatting Human Trafficking Act. This act will build upon the province’s $307 million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy. “This proposed legislation reinforces Ontario’s commitment to fight human trafficking and demonstrates continued leadership in responding to this pervasive crime.” You can read the full press release here.
In the report “Human Trafficking Corridors in Canada” by The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking states that Ontario’s Highway 401 is a route frequented by traffickers. The many offshoots to urban areas between Montreal, QC and Windsor ON, allows human traffickers to remain transient. Aside from connecting with new customers, the traffickers remain on the move to keep their victims confused and unable to orient themselves. Learn more here.
Most people are unaware of these criminal activities in our province and beyond. Many believe that this is an issue that may take place in foreign countries but not in North America. Sadly, this is happening here and we must educate ourselves to properly spot and report. We are proud to join other driver training schools and carriers in providing the TAT training video.
Students and drivers will receive a certification upon completion as well as a wallet card with all of the hotlines and other TAT information. We have hung informative posters at our terminals and will continue to connect with TAT, TTSAO, the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada as well as local Members of Provincial Parliament in regards to this subject.
For those who are interested in hearing from an individual who was trafficked in Oakville, ON we recommend the article from Toronto Life. “How I was lured into the nightmarish world of sex trafficking at 15” by Michelle Furgiuele.