Man sex trafficked 13-year-old he met on Facebook as she lived at group home, feds say

A man is facing at least 15 years in prison over sex trafficking a 13-year-old he met on Facebook, federal prosecutors said. Carlos Casillas, 51, of Springfield, Massachusetts, began messaging the girl on the social media platform as she was living in a group home, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. 

Edmonton trio accused of trafficking Sask., B.C. teens

Three people from Edmonton are accused of luring girls from other provinces to work in the sex trade. Christopher Mucheni, 29, Demsey Lorquet-Maura, 30, and Lauren Wise, 22, "all face numerous human trafficking charges," police announced on Monday. 

NJ couple sentenced to jail for sex trafficking

U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger reported that a husband and wife from Passaic County have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a sex trafficking scheme. 


Trucking Association Executives Council named winner 

of 2023 TAT Champion Award in the Associations Category

The Trucking Association Executives Council (TAEC) has been named the 2023 TAT Champion in the Association Category. Joe Sculley, president of the New Hampshire Motor Transport Association, accepted the award on behalf of TAEC from TAT Deputy Director and Senior Director of Public Sector Engagement Kylla Lanier at the TAEC annual conference in July in Newport, Rhode Island.

These leaders – either presidents or executive directors -- of their respective state trucking associations gathered with the TAT Champion Award to commemorate the honor. From L to R: John Blair, Motor Transport Association of Connecticut (MTAC); Kevin Weeks, Massachusetts Motor Transport Association (MMTA); Chris Maxwell, Rhode Island Trucking Association (RITA); Bob Sculley, Vermont Truck and Bus Association (VTBA); Brian Parke, Maine Trucking Association (MTA); Joe Sculley, New Hampshire Motor Transport Association (NHMTA); Kendra Hems, Trucking Association of New York (TANY); Gail Toth, New Jersey Motor Truck Association (NJMTA); Rebecca Oyler, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association (PMTA); and Louis Campion, Maryland Motor Truck Association (MMTA)

Each year, TAT honors the organization, the association and the state agency whose outstanding creative, innovative, generous and dedicated efforts have significantly furthered TAT’s work in “engaging more members of the industries we work with, as well as the efforts of more agencies and organizations within their state and our nation in the fight to end this crime and recover more survivors and prosecute more perpetrators.”

In her presentation speech, Lanier spoke to the 14 years of support TAEC has given TAT. “When TAT first began,” she shared, “we didn’t know anyone in the trucking industry. We didn’t really understand the breadth of the industry, know the players or the endless list of acronyms (OOIDA, NAPFTDS, FMCSA, NATSO, TCA, ATA all of the STA acronyms…and the list goes on), and we had a lot to learn. As I look out across this room today, I see so many of our first teachers who helped open our minds to the intricacies of the industry … and helped us become very fluent in those acronyms and sensitive to the many pulls on the industry you represent. As I reflect on how much you all, the TAEC members, have helped advance TAT’s mission, I stand in humble awe and with extreme gratitude, and I want to share with you some of the things you have done for TAT and in the fight against human trafficking.”

Lanier recounted:

  • Every State Trucking Association (STA) has invited TAT to speak at their annual conference (some multiple times), comping room and registration, thereby enabling TAT to participate, resulting in thousands of companies being trained, drivers making calls and victims being recovered! 
  • Many TAEC members have become TAT corporate sponsors, making it possible for TAT to distribute training materials free of charge to companies, schools and state agencies across the U.S. 
  • Many TAEC members have asked TAT to speak and exhibit at their safety meetings, their truck driving championships and to their boards in order to highlight human trafficking and how the industry is making a difference. 
  • TAEC members have worked to garner TAT’s Freedom Drivers Project an invitation to exhibit at seven state fairs and then provided volunteers to help work the event. As a result, over 15,000 community members have been educated on human trafficking from just those events. 
  • TAT’s first Coalition Build (CB) was hosted in California alongside TAT’s partners at the California Trucking Association, and that early CB model gave rise to one of TAT’s cornerstone programs. To date, 41 STAs have co-hosted 65 CBs nationwide, resulting in the formation of local networks comprised of both private and public sector partners, which are helping to close loopholes to traffickers in communities around our country. 
  • Many TAEC members have given and continue to give free advertising to TAT in their print and virtual publications, allowing TAT to share about new programs, materials, awards and to continue to center our core messaging around human trafficking and transportation’s critical role in combating it. 
  • Multiple STA executives have joined the human trafficking taskforces in their states, providing leadership and support and taking their commitment to the next level. They have worked with law enforcement on undercover operations that have led to the arrest of traffickers and buyers and the recovery of victims. 
  • When Tony Bradley from the Arizona Trucking Association nominated TAT for the coveted 2017 Mike Russell Award, TAT received honor and encouragement from the nomination and by the statements made by those who signed on as co-nominators, speaking to the value of TAT’s work and how they identified it as part of the practice and mandate of trucking association executives. 
  • TAEC members have represented TAT at anti-trafficking conferences and with the press, speaking about how not only their individual organizations are committed to combating human trafficking, but also how the trucking industry at large has become a role model to other industries in this fight. 

Lanier emphasized that: “… since TAT’s inception, given the example of how the trucking industry united on this issue, others industries have taken note, and are following your example. Among them: the bus, school bus, energy, convenience store, rideshare, auto haulers, ports, and moving industries have all begun to tackle this issue. In addition, our efforts have expanded into Canada and Mexico, and other nations are contacting us for consultation on how to replicate the model in their own countries. Your example is changing the world!”

New template details human trafficking response procedure

for transit workers

A new adaptable and adoptable anti-human trafficking tool for transit agencies and employees nationwide ensures that frontline employees, dispatch and safety supervisors will know the appropriate responses if they suspect a human trafficking situation. 

The impetus for the creation of the Human Trafficking Awareness and Response Procedure Template arose from the results of a survey conducted in 2021 with transit agencies throughout the state of Florida by the Florida Transit Safety Operations Network (FTSON) / Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida. The survey found that while many agencies were training, none had reporting protocols in place. CUTR then raised the question at a national transit conference and found the gap was an issue throughout the United States. 

"In order for human trafficking training to be truly effective, trainees must know exactly how to report suspicions of trafficking, and agencies must be prepared to respond to those reports,” explained Lexi Higgins, director of TAT’s Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) program. “This is why BOTL encourages all of our partners to adopt internal human trafficking protocols as a best practice alongside training implementation. This template will guide any transit agency through the creation of a meaningful policy that keeps employees safe, while also ensuring that potential victims of trafficking receive the assistance and services they need. We are so excited to add it to the library of free resources we offer to the bus industry." 

Supported in its development by the Florida Department of Transportation’s Statewide Transit Training and Technical Assistance (STTAT) Program, in partnership with BOTL, the template, which was released July 12 in a nationwide transit webinar, included input from Florida transit agency representatives to ensure the language was clear, concise and similar to other procedures in their agency. The template is designed to easily incorporate an agency’s logo for ease of adoption in any state. With both the expansion of training throughout the transit community, and the number of transit employees who are already recognizing and reporting human trafficking situations, the use of this procedure template may potentially lead to many saved lives in local communities. 

“This Human Trafficking Awareness and Response Procedure Template is one of the most useful pieces of work our team has produced, due to the potential impacts it may have on the lives of vulnerable victims of human trafficking,” emphasized Jodi Godfrey, senior research associate for the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida. “We are empowering the frontline transit workforce with the tools they need to respond to this heinous crime occurring in each of our communities.” 

TAT continues learning how to protect youth

at Boys and Girls Club event in Tennessee

Intent on learning from youth in order to better protect them from predators when they’re using public transportation, as well as making them more aware of human trafficking, TAT sent its Freedom Drivers Project (FDP), along with FDP Director Brandy Belton, to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee – Preston Taylor Clubhouse in Nashville at the end of June.

The event brought together youth aged 13-18 to tour the exhibit, share what they already knew about human trafficking and teach them more in order to increase their awareness and make them less vulnerable to traffickers. The event was the brain child of TAT Board Member Eric Higgs, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee. Higgs, LaQuinta McGhee, director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee, and TAT’s partner Bridgestone worked together to make it a meaningful day to all involved. Bridgestone also provided volunteers to work the event and a lunch for everyone.

Brandy Belton (left) FDP director, addressed each group of teens from the Boys and Girls Club before they entered the FDP to tour it.

Belton said that more than 90% of the 50 young people who toured the FDP already knew about human trafficking and what it was, but their knowledge was primarily learned from television or the Internet. Most hadn’t heard that traffickers are also called pimps but did know the term “daddy” for them. Many asked questions and offered suggestions on how to help them expand their knowledge. They filled out surveys that will be helpful in the development of the new initiative Youth on Transportation that Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) is creating to better protect youth. Belton provided copies of TAT resources How to Talk to Your Kids about Human Trafficking, Why Talk About Porn, and How to Engage Your Community in the Fight Against Human Trafficking to all participants.

“Bridgestone was honored to volunteer at the recent Truckers Against Trafficking and Boys and Girls Club event held at the Preston Taylor Boys and Girls Club in Nashville,” said Josh Holland, vice president of Dealer Operations for Bridgestone Truck Group and a TAT Board Member. “It was an amazing day of outreach and education surrounding awareness of the realities of domestic human trafficking. We’re proud to have brought our not-for-profit partners together to make a difference for these young adults. This was a true testament of our E8 Commitment in action.”  

Belton expressed appreciation to Quality Carriers for hauling the FDP to and from the event.

Once inside the exhibit, the teens carefully went through all the information and expressed great interest in what they were learning.

Aug. 1-2 - FedEx Summer Summit, Orlando, FL

Aug. 2 - Idaho DOE statewide School Bus Pre-Service Training, Boise, ID

Aug. 7 - Penske FDP event, Frederick, MD

Aug. 8 - National Star Route Mail Contractors Association National Convention, Washington, D.C.

Aug. 8-10 - Florida Highway Patrol law enforcement trainings, Orlando, Tallahassee, West Palm Springs

Aug. 14 - TravelCenters of America FDP event, London, OH

Aug. 16 - Colorado State Patrol law enforcement training, Golden, CO

Aug. 16-19 - National Truck Driving Championships, Columbus, OH (FDP)

Aug. 18-20 - Minority Professional Truckers Association Expo, Atlanta, GA

Aug. 20-22 - Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Summit and Trade Show, Ottawa, Ontario

Aug. 21 - West Virginia Chapter of the FBI National Academy Associates law enforcement briefing, Camp Dawson, WV

Aug. 22 - Joint Regional Intelligence Center law enforcement training, Los Angeles, CA

Aug. 22 - Sapp Bros. FDP event, Peru, IL

Aug. 24 - Sapp Bros. Managers' Conference, Council Bluff, IA

Aug. 24 - Convoy lunch and learn webinar, virtual

Aug. 27-29 - Broken Bow Rotary Club FDP event, Broken Bow, NE


In memory of Alexandra Lynn


Anne and Merlin Namuth


Bob Paris, Jonathan and Jill Lim


Scott and Terry Koch, Andy and Karin Larsen


Grinnell Family, Mike Poirier, Anna McCoy, Doug and Diane Hockersmith


Patti Gillette, Linda Burtwistle, Don Blake, Scott Perry, Dan and Emily Dykstra, Michael Nelson, Jacqueline Daves Isser, Charlton and Laura Wimberly, Judith Ridgley, Lou and Ronda Leeburg, Laura Rinas, Megan Farnsworth, Nicole Siegler, Chris Dumbrell, Melissa Powell


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