Human trafficking in the trucking industry




Anyone that has ever seen a movie or television show about human trafficking or some kind of kidnapping there is one common feature:  a truck stop scene. This common misconception feeds off of a hype with some very real facts. Is this fair to the trucking industry? Some equally real companies are fighting for this fear to be eradicated from the general public. Because this threat is real, there are ways to help fight against human trafficking in the trucking industry and avoid it all together.


The fear of being captured, beaten, and sold in an underground world and never found is a fear that can be instilled in the minds of anyone. That is why the media and movie industry can pray off of this fear so easily. Recently, in December of 2015 four men were arrested and have been sentenced by a federal judge for trying to buy sex slaves online from Asia. The F.B.I. made this discovery after a 2012 investigation that started from a bondage website offering to sell kidnapped Asian women. During this two-month investigation there were nearly 200 potential customers in the U.S. Essentially, human trafficking is the modern day form of slavery, with no law to determine what the buyer can do with their new “property.” In February 2016, Wellington Brown was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison and another 10 years of supervised release for the trafficking and prostitution of minors. Those that have never been on the road fear this crime because the trucker world is a world that they do not understand. Over The Road drivers can move from one end of the country to the other, they know the roads, and can communicate with each other faster than law enforcement can keep up with. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has made human trafficking, especially in the trucking industry one of their top civil rights objectives. The truck driving industry has been the main source of this fear because drivers move goods all over the country.  There are many types of human trafficking in the trucking industry which also involves moving illegal immigrants across the border and even terrorists. Truck drivers are blamed for moving thousands of victims across the United States every year, smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S. and helping terrorists move their goods from overseas. Rest stops and truck stops are some of the biggest grounds for human trafficking; they can be exchanged, bought, and sold. Law enforcement is well aware of the situation and patrol these areas, but blame the truck driving industry for allowing these things to happen. Most of the victims in the U.S. involved with human trafficking are runaways that have nowhere else to go.


The sad reality about human trafficking is that there are truckers involved with it. There are also many drivers out on the road that feel strongly against human trafficking. There are a lot of drivers out there that are quick to report this type of behavior. The truck drivers that are involved in human trafficking actually give the entire industry a bad reputation.  There are many organizations against human trafficking including: Truckers Against Trafficking, Vigilante Truth, and the National Hotline Number. Many drivers feel that reporting these types of atrocities is their moral obligation and will have no problem helping to put an end to this modern day slave trade. Some drivers have even made their trucks into a moving billboard urging others to help; the life they save may be your child. Becoming vastly popular is the billboard “do you see me?” featuring children under extreme conditions is also being put up along the roads to show that these things are really happening. So why are truckers involved so much with human trafficking? Is it because of their long weeks out on the roads, the ease in which they can pull up to truck stops and rest areas, or the fact that people want someone to blame? Besides the truckers that are actually involved, the truth is, it is all three reasons and more; truck drivers are out there and they know the roads, they may spend weeks out on the lonely roads and this gives people an easy target. While there are drivers involved with this, it is important for people to realize that it is not all of them, a vast majority of drivers are simply trying to make a living.




truckers against trafficking on overdrive

Thousands of human sex trafficking cases are reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center every year. The good news is: there are ways to protect yourself and others while out on the road. As a trucker the first responsibility is to report if you see it! Even if you are not 100% sure of what you see it is still good to report a suspected human trafficking or human slave trade; it is better to let law enforcement check it out and find out that it was not really the case than to have a victim disappear forever. It is a good idea for anyone that has been a victim or a potential victim to know that there is help. The table above this paragraph contains just a few of the resources available to everyone (save them and pass them on).  If you are in a position where you absolutely have to accept a ride from a stranger out on the road it is important to be able to know some things to protect yourself.  If someone is being pushy and insisting that you get in their vehicle that is a red flag and it is important that you get away from them and call 911. Staying at a safe distance from them is highly important so you are not pulled or dragged into their vehicle.



Before accepting a ride from a stranger try the following.

  1. Take a picture of the driver. If he is an honest person he will not mind.  In fact, if he is a good driver he will allow you to take a picture of his driver’s license.
  2. Take a picture of the vehicle license plate.
  3. If it is a trucker take a picture of the side of the truck where the DOT & MC numbers are.
  4. Text it to a family member or friend that cares and tell them this is who is giving you a ride, where they picked you up, and where you are going with the possible arrival time.
  5. If you don’t have a family or friend make friends with the people around you and let them know. Any witness is better than no witness.


There are many different victims that have been pulled into the human trafficking world, not just runaways: those with vehicle problems, kidnapping, or simply individuals of opportunity have all fallen

prey to this crime. Always pay attention to the situation around you. The resources are out there and there is help for those that need it. Remember, if you have been a victim it is important to speak up against your attackers and contact any one of the resources that can help you. You are not alone!




Truckers Against Trafficking


Vigilante Truth

Contact via website

National Human Trafficking Resource Center


Stand As One Inc.

Contact via website

Anti-Predator Project

24/7 Hotline: 305-609-1918

Written by: Jake Hensley