Volume 12 | Issue 2
February 2021
Human trafficking in the news
2020 TAT annual report recognizes the
essential nature of our partners
In the 2020 TAT annual report, TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris sets the tone for the report by recognizing and applauding the essential nature of TAT’s partners in her letter. She writes:

Like everyone else on the planet, I am happy to put 2020 in the rearview. However, despite the extraordinary challenges it presented, including increased vulnerabilities for victims of human trafficking and those most susceptible to exploitation, the United States trucking industry must be lauded for their undeniable efforts to keep our country running. 

Many Americans, some for the first time, quietly (or overtly) thanked a professional driver when they walked into their local grocery store and found re-stocked shelves or their hospitals and urgent cares equipped with the necessary resources for their treatment. Professional drivers were on the front lines hauling hand sanitizer, masks and PPE to millions all across the nation, and now they are faithfully ensuring the vaccine is getting where it needs to go. 

In addition, truck stops remained open and worked to ensure that professional drivers had a safe place to park, refuel and be fed. Bus drivers faced health risks, and yet continued to go to work, ensuring that those who also had to work outside the home or get to school were transported safely. The energy industry, despite enormous challenges, fueled our nation … making certain that truck and bus drivers were able to fulfill their logistical missions.

In the midst of it all, this large, mobile army continued to make calls on behalf of those who needed it most. As you will read in the pages of this report, members of the truck, bus and energy industries were essential in combating human trafficking in 2020, alongside government officials, and, for that, we owe them a debt of gratitude.

Recently, I spoke with Jeff Davis, an Armed Forces veteran and a Delta Auto Transport driver with 22 years of experience out on the roads. This past August, Jeff made a call on behalf of a 16-year-old girl being sold for sex. It was 3:30 a.m. when she knocked on his door, and Jeff told me what roused him from bed was remembering the mother featured in our TAT training video and how she wept recounting how a call from a driver had helped bring her daughter back home. Jeff, who proceeded to get up, get dressed and leave his tractor to go find the girl, not only called the hotline on the girl’s behalf, but also local law enforcement, telling me, “That girl’s life is far more important than me getting a few hours of sleep.” 

To Jeff Davis and all the truckers against trafficking out there on the roads … thank you for your service, thank you for your leadership and thank you for being our everyday heroes.

Be sure to check out the TAT 2020 annual report on our website. You can view the PDF here or the Flipbook version here.
TAT Canadian efforts to be spearheaded by committee
A newly formed and operating TAT Canada Committee (TCC) will work to expand TAT Canada’s reach and implementation by activating the networks, resources and expertise of its volunteer members. Committee members, including Kriska and UPS Canada, come from both public and private entities, including industry leaders, top carriers, major government transportation entities and crucial anti-trafficking voices in Canada, as TAT has found these partnerships integral to success.

TCC membership goals include a commitment to training and implementing additional TAT Canada action steps company-wide; identifying and working to obtain speaking opportunities at conferences and events for TAT Canada; and conducting direct outreach to each committee member’s sphere of influence, encouraging partnership with TAT Canada. TAT Canada will also work to see the Canadian Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Model (Canadian CVE) adopted by provinces and law enforcement to utilize entry points into the trucking and bus industries to spread the TAT anti-trafficking message. The Canadian CVE duplicates the Iowa MVE model TAT has successfully used in the United States.
The committee chair and co-chair are Heather Mewhinney and Caroline Blais, both from Kriska Transportation Group. For Kriska, Mewhinney is head of human resources, while Blais is recruiting manager.
TAT has been working to build relationships in Canada since 2019. It held a Coalition Build in Toronto that year, has benefitted from its American contacts, such as UPS, Pilot and Bridgestone, making introductions to their Canadian affiliates, has conducted its own research on Canadian trucking and law enforcement and has worked closely with the leadership of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) to raise awareness of human trafficking by introducing and promoting education to all students who enroll in a commercial truck driving course, and with the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC), who promoted TAT Canada to their membership. These efforts have resulted in trucking companies showing interest in providing TAT training and certification to all their employees. Fifteen companies, so far, have TAT Trained their drivers, with an additional two dozen more poised to implement training in 2021.
Calling all Everyday Heroes!
Some "everyday hero" deserves to be named this year's winner of the TAT Harriet Tubman Award presented by Protective Insurance, complete with a $2500 check and a gala weekend at the Indy500. Is it someone in your company? Is it you? Is it someone you've heard about? Visit TAT's Harriet Tubman Award page for specifics on the nomination process.
BOTL launches a new school-bus-focused training video
as the program exceeds new milestones
As Busing on the Lookout (BOTL), TAT’s bus industry training and outreach program, kicks off its fourth year, the program’s reach and impact continue to grow. To date, BOTL has registered over 120,000 members of the bus industry as BOTL Trained and continues expanding its industry partnerships at all levels.

BOTL Program Specialist Lexi Higgins is overseeing the launch of a new BOTL training video specifically designed for school bus drivers. The video addresses the role these drivers play in the lives of the children they transport daily and features testimony from TAT Training Specialist and Survivor Leader Liz Williamson, who talks about the years she spent as a child victim of sex trafficking while attending school and riding the school bus daily.

As part of the launch of this new resource, BOTL hosted a national virtual training for pupil transportation, with more than 135 pupil transportation leaders from 29 states registered. Danny Papa, educator and president of the New Jersey Coalition of Human Trafficking, presented alongside Williamson and Higgins.

“As an educator who has worked for the last 10 years empowering young people to be the voice of change on this issue, it’s an honor to speak with members of school transportation,” Papa said. “Human trafficking can affect anyone, but everyone plays a role in preventing trafficking of all forms. Students could be sitting on your buses longer than they are sitting in the average classroom. That just shows how unique your role is in a school community and in the lives of students.”

To access BOTL’s new school bus driver-focused training video, visit https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/pupil-transportation/. Contact Lexi Higgins, BOTL program specialist, at lhiggins@truckersagainsttrafficking.org for more information.

In commemoration of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, BOTL hosted or co-hosted four national virtual trainings targeting transit agencies, casinos, motorcoach operators, and pupil transportation providers. In total, these events reached over 500 industry leaders from across the nation.

BOTL also partnered with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in January to host a national webinar on transit’s role in combating human trafficking. Over 260 transit leaders registered for this event to hear testimonials from survivor-leaders, an overview of the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority’s human trafficking initiative and updates from the Federal Transit Administration on its Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative. Following the session, Polly Hanson, APTA’s Senior Director for Security, Risk and Emergency Management, complimented all presenters and organizers, saying, “Words cannot express how powerful this session was. Your thoughtfulness and efforts working to create awareness, provide training and tips will be remembered and will have lasting impact on all of the webinar attendees.”

As part of its initiative to close loopholes to traffickers at the intersection between buses and casinos, BOTL is partnering with the American Gaming Association to host a webinar for their casino property members in February and worked with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, the Nevada Resort Association and the Nevada Trucking Association to host a virtual briefing on how buses, transit and casinos can work with law enforcement to help end human trafficking in Nevada. Over 160 industry, state agency and law enforcement representatives from Nevada signed up for the briefing to learn about efforts underway in their state and how they can access BOTL’s training resources for buses and casinos.

For regular updates on BOTL activities and progress, follow @BusingOTL on Facebook and Instagram.
February 2021 Calendar of Events
Feb. 1-3 – FDP Tour at Sapp Brothers Truck Stop Training, Helen Hofer, FDP director, presenting
Feb. 2 – Sapp Brothers Truck Stop Training, Annika Huff, TAT training specialist and survivor-leader, Louie Greek, TAT training specialist, and Lt. Monty Lovelace, Nebraska Highway Patrol, presenting
Feb. 3 – Rotary Action Group Against Slavery, Nebraska chapter, Louis Greek, TAT training specialist, presenting
Feb. 4 – American Gaming Association National Casino Webinar, Annie Sovcik, BOTL director, and Liz Williamson, TAT training specialist and survivor-leader, presenting
Feb. 9 – Illinois Trucking Association virtual presentation, Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, presenting
Feb. 11 – Oklahoma Safety and Security Council virtual presentation, Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, presenting
Feb. 16 – Justice Seekers Investigative Tools, Kylla Lanier, TAT deputy director, and Annika Huff, TAT training specialist and survivor-leader, presenting
Thank you to our copper level and above individual donors!
Douglas Kegler
Jonathan and Jill Lim, Bob Paris, Andy and Karin Larsen
Lou and Ronda Leeburg, Scott and Terry Koch, Anna McCoy
Mark and Julie Mihevc, Chris Ripani, Stephanie Guindy
George Cravens, Patti Gillette, Linda Burtwistle, John McKown, Mr. and Mrs. Matty Moroun, Ken Johnson, Mike and Karen Kuykendall, Sarah Roark, Matthew Bleach, Kent Marshall, Lindsey England, Rich McArdle, Don Blake, Scott Perry, Grinnell Family, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Turner