Human trafficking is a terrible crime that often goes undetected in our communities. This is because there are many opportunities and locations that are hidden in plain sight but support the continuous perpetration of human trafficking.
Interestingly, truck stops are one such places where sex traffickers carry out their nefarious activities. Commercially owned trucks are preferred areas for traffickers because of the possibility of many potential clients in one location. At such spots, law enforcement agencies are mostly absent, and the girls and women can be moved from one truck to another pretty quickly.
Actually, some of the women and girls at commercial truck stops willfully engage in sex trafficking. However, not all of them willfully consent to the exchange of sex for money. These women and girls are actually under the control of traffickers. The law maintains that any person under the age of 18 who is engaged in commercial sex transactions is being abused. When these trucks stop along the highway, there's really no easy way to escape.
But women and girls are not the only ones affected. Children and teenagers are also being trafficked daily within and outside the U.S. The majority of the victims of human trafficking are either exploited for forced labor or sex trafficking.
Why Truck Stops are Used for Human Trafficking
Truckers themselves are involved in the process. Truck stops make for easy access and transfer points. Traffickers can easily move people around without getting noticed. Truck stops are located along highways, providing direct and easy access to traffickers. With more than 5,000 truck stops located across the United States, traffickers can conveniently carry out their activities away from the eyes of law enforcement.
Truck stops are mostly located at remote locations. This makes it easy for traffickers to operate with some assurance of safety. According to the Lanier Law Firm, another possible reason why truck stops are beehives for traffickers is that they are mostly male-dominated bases. As such, they may not be sensitive to the danger associated with human trafficking.
This is one reason why an organization like Truckers Against Trafficking is actively spreading awareness and educating truckers about the harmful impact of human trafficking.
How are Truck Stops Used for Sex Trafficking?
The Lanier Law Firm also provided further insights, elaborating the many ways truck stops help to promote sex trafficking.
● Massage parlors near truck stops can disguise as commercial sex operators.
● Online trucker boards can advertise commercial sex. They often use code languages to communicate to truckers willing to buy.
● People selling sex use certain codes and language over the Citizens Band (CB) radio to communicate the race, age, gender, and price of trafficked persons for sex to the truckers.
The point here is that truckers can join the fight against sex trafficking and forced labor. Considering the number of human trafficking victims that pass through truck stops every day, truckers occupy a strategic position in the scheme of things. This is why organizations like Truckers Against Trafficking are educating truckers to identify potential signs of sex trafficking and report to appropriate authorities.
These activities are even higher during peak travel and holidays periods in the country. Because of the access that truckers have to remote places across the country, they are in a great position to spot human trafficking victims and report suspicious activity.
About the Mission Haven
The Mission Haven is a nonprofit, charity-funded organization focused on providing a comprehensive and transformational Haven of Healing for victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. We believe that every single DMST or child sex trafficking survivor still has a chance at life at its best.
Our goal at The Mission Haven is to provide them with all the support they need to start over. With your generous donations and support, we can continue to provide a truly safe haven of hope and healing equipped with essential resources to lift victims and survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking. To give, volunteer, or become a partner, don't hesitate to get in touch with us today.