GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. - The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the largest national association for professional truckers, is partnering with Truckers Against Trafficking in their efforts to stop one of the nation's most heinous and fastest growing crimes - human trafficking.
TAT is a nonprofit organization that educates, equips and mobilizes members of the trucking and travel plaza industry to combat domestic sex trafficking. The Department of Justice estimates that 100,000 to 300,000 of America's youth are at risk of becoming victims of the sex trade industry each year.
"Their efforts are important in so many ways, and we have been glad to help spread their messages to our members," said OOIDA president Jim Johnston. "We are proud to strike an official partnership with them and continue that outreach through social media, a direct link from our website homepage, and other channels."
OOIDA, which has more than 150,000 members nationwide, hands out TAT wallet cards from its headquarters and keeps them on hand on the association's tour truck, "The Spirit of the American Trucker."
"Often, visiting members have asked for stacks of them to hand out to other drivers they meet out on the road," said Johnston.
The TAT organization works with the FBI, truck stops, law enforcement agencies and other groups in their battle to stop the despicable crime of human trafficking.
"By partnering with organizations like OOIDA, we can educate those who are likely to encounter victims of trafficking, recognize the signs and know what to do," said Kendis Paris, national director of TAT.
"Oftentimes, just calling 911 doesn't get consistent results because not all law enforcement have been trained about human trafficking. That's why calling the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is vitally important, so that those tips end up in the hands of anti-trafficking deputies who will investigate them. Callers can remain anonymous, and it's OK if they are wrong about a situation observed. We want people to feel comfortable calling."
The NHTRC number is (888) 3737-888.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers.
The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.