TTU: Episode 103 - Truckers Against Trafficking with
Helen Hofer Show Notes
Hello and welcome to Thru the Undertow. This week’s episode is
an interview with Helen Hofer from Truckers Against Trafficking. We discuss how
this amazing organization came to be and the great things they are doing to
help in the fight against trafficking.
Truckers Against Trafficking is an organization created to
educate, equip, empower, and mobilize members of the trucking, bus and energy
industries to combat human trafficking. It began
as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries in 2009 but became its own 501c3 in
Helen Hofer is the Director of the Freedom Driver’s
Project at Truckers Against Trafficking. As such, she utilizes the first-of-its-kind mobile exhibit to
educate audiences across the US about the realities of trafficking and how the
trucking and bus industries are driving change in this area. She has managed
trailer and event logistics for over 140 events in 40 states hosted by
companies, state agencies, associations and community organizations. She is
also the Salesforce Administrator, where she co-leads their team to full Salesforce
adoption. Helen joined Truckers Against Trafficking in 2015.
br*nding, as*ault, s*xu*l ab*se, pr*st*tution
points of interest:
01:00 – Welcome
Helen Hofer is the Freedom Driver’s Project Director for TAT. She manages
outreach and events. While she previously had no experience in the trucking
industry, Helen did have experience in the anti-trafficking movement.
Truckers Against Trafficking works specifically with the trucking industry including
the bus industry and the oil and gas industry and newly with wind and solar to
train CDL drivers to recognize and report suspected instances of human
trafficking to the National Trafficking Hotline.
02:37 – TAT
has free industry specific training videos along with wallet cards, posters,
and other training materials to give out to drivers.
TAT’s mission is to educate, empower, equip, and mobilize members of the
trucking, bus, and energy industries to combat human trafficking as a part of
their everyday jobs. We do that through saturating the industries with our
materials, training law enforcement, and partnering with the industry to help move
their mission forward.
04:08 – TAT
works with motorcoach transit, but also school bus drivers.
05:13 – How
Truckers Against Trafficking came about.
06:51 – The
level of impact that truckers can have on this issue.
Truckers are trained to more frequently observe and report as opposed to
intervene directly. Collecting as much information as possible without
interacting, if possible. They are also trained to look for certain signs of
trafficking such as branding, eye contact, minor involved, other individuals
Calling the National Trafficking Hotline can allow the hotline to take down
details and connect potential victims with law enforcement, advocates, and
TAT’s primary tools and resources are their free training videos available on
their website. The trucking video is on the home page. Others are located
through their programs tab. Wallet cards also have detailed information for
reference. TAT works with CDL schools and state agencies as well to get the
word out to the individuals.
Advocates can reach out to local companies to motorcoach hubs to schools to
even individual drivers to encourage TAT’s training be incorporated into any
employee training for drivers.
13:17 – 99%
of the time victims of trafficking did not choose this life. Helen and Nicole
discuss how some victims end up in the situation.
There’s also labor trafficking in the US in the construction industry and agricultural
crews among others.
Anywhere there are vulnerable people and greedy people you can find trafficking.
Helen was led to the anti-trafficking movement through learning about
international immigration in college. After learning about trafficking in
places like South East Asia and Europe, Helen happened to attend a meeting with
a friend in Boulder that was about human trafficking in America, she knew that
was how she wanted to make a difference going forward.
Nicole discusses how trafficking has impacted her own children, in particular
Helen brings up Driving Freedom the podcast that Truckers Against Traffickers produces.
Children that are trafficked lose the ability to self-love and to look at the
future in any positive fashion.
27:55 – Take
the opportunity to role play and talk with your kids about things to look for
that are potential signs as well as how to have compassion when interacting
with other kids that may have gone through experiences that are more traumatic.
Helen discusses the Man-to-Man program at TAT. The end of trafficking will be
the end of the demand for commercial sex. Many men who purchase sex do NOT
acknowledge the statistics of trafficking. TAT encourages truckers to take the
information from the training back to their neighborhoods to make even more people
Caregivers and advocates often suffer from secondary trauma and need to take
care of themselves when assisting people who’ve gone through traumatic
experiences. The longer you are in it, you could find yourself being more raw
to the circumstances of others as opposed to being numb.
33:07 – It
can be difficult to recognize that you can’t save them all and you can’t be
enough for those that are suffering. Self-care is extremely important to everyone
in the sexual abuse/mental health/advocate industry to be able to do their part
36:17 – We
need to embrace the “It takes a village to raise a child”. As a society we can
only work as well as our societal members. Are there things that we can do to
help them work better.
38:00 – The
advantage of TAT is that it works only in one specific area so it can work
really well as opposed to other organizations that might be in that “save them
all” mindset. Organizations that work in specific areas make the whole anti-trafficking
movement work better.
41:18 – Some
states require the TAT training as a part of the CDL licensure process.
Currently, that number sits at 12. TAT prefers to work with partners so it’s a
voluntary choice as opposed to trying to make it happen. Word of mouth is the
best way to move support forward.
43:39 – Even
people who are not in the trucking industry could benefit from watching their
free videos to learn more about the trafficking industry and things to look for
in terms of warning signs.
44:53 – TAT just
created a school outreach kit to reach out to schools for training.
45:45 – The
Harriet Tubman award is an award that is given out to a driver that has had a
direct impact in the industry. Helen shares two separate stories of Harriet
Tubman winners and how their actions positively helped a trafficking victim.
52:39 – As a
society we’re not trained to think of victims as victims, we’re trained to
Thank you for being with us. What are some things that listeners can do to
support you. The website is www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org . See other action steps listed
Resources/Links to Information Referenced in the
Truckers Against Trafficking Website: www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org
National Human Trafficking Hotline: www.humantraffickinghotline.org Call
1-888-373-7888 (TTY: 711) or Text 233733
TAT Freedom Drivers Project: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/freedom-drivers-project-homepage/
TAT Driving Freedom Podcast: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/drivingfreedompodcast/
TAT School Transportation Resources: https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/school-transportation/
Calls to action:
Check out Truckers Against Trafficking or any of their
programs at their website. It’s extremely informative and there’s LOTS there to
look at. www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org (also see other links above) Watch their FREE training if
Share the TAT site with truckers or people in the
Don’t judge behavior without asking why it’s happening first.
Fill out the Contact Form at the TAT website to learn more
and to request materials.
Donate to TAT to help spread the word. One time, monthly, or
host a fundraiser.
There is a volunteer training that you can do for outreach so
you can go out to businesses like truck stops, trucking companies, bus
stations, bus companies, etc in your area to let them know about TAT. Contact
TAT for more information.
Listen to the Driving Freedom Podcast!
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Recognize that victims of trafficking might not appear the
way you expect.
Keep your eyes and ears open and report things if you feel
someone is in danger.
Remember you only have to get through one moment at a time.
Remember we’re here to help you get Thru the Undertow.