Help Put the Brakes on Human Trafficking
Contributed by Nancy Thoma Groetken
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families, Kansas City Regional Office
I am writing this to acknowledge the good work being done each day by so many of you, beyond the day-to-day expectations of deliveries, deadlines and destinations.
As a Midwestern mom, grandmother, and wife of a beef-packing and transportation professional, I recognize the good work accomplished each day by thousands of professional drivers, delivering everything imaginable, with the constant expectation, “safely and on time.”
OOIDA members, National Carriers, Inc. and many other national and community organizations working with professional truck drivers all across our country are on the front line of this issue and see more of our great country and its people than probably most folks will ever see in their lifetimes. Along the way, you are the witness to everyday life across America. I think of you as having your fingers on America’s pulse…our country’s eyes, ears, and heart!
As many of you know people-sometimes hiding in plain sight-are victimized by other people. Evil people prey upon children, youth and adults, using them and controlling them through violence, drugs, and fear. I am talking about the act of human trafficking. It can be forced sex and or labor, and it is modern day slavery.
A victim of trafficking may look like many of the people you see every day. The person could be forced to work as a prostitute or to labor long hours for little or no pay. The most heartbreaking part is most of these individuals are children or troubled teens. Many have run away from home or have been lured away from home by a new Internet “friend” who promises to love them and take care of them, but then viciously exploits them.
Please continue to be vigilant! If you see something that doesn’t seem right to you- a person who is too young to be out alone, cold, hungry, scared, or is being controlled by someone who speaks for them – you may have encountered a victim of human trafficking.
Ways you can help? Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, a 24/7 hotline operated by a non-government organization, at 888-373-7888 if you see a potential case of find someone who needs help. Also, you can help spread the awareness by displaying posters from the Department of Transportation public awareness campaign called “Put the Brakes on Human Trafficking.”
For more information about signs that someone may be a victim of trafficking go to traffickingresourcecenter.org/signs.
Thank you for your awareness, commitment and ongoing help to “Put the Brakes on Human Trafficking.”