Sex Trafficking at Truck Stops

March 17, 2012 § 1 Comment

The Polaris Project recently released this brief on sex trafficking at truck stops. It’s a quick and insightful introduction to a topic relevant to all Americans.  If you hope to get involved in the fight against sex trafficking, this seems like a easy entry point. Unfortunately, (like all topics of sex trafficking) this issue of sex trafficking at truck stops has largely been unstudied and remains unseen and under discussed in the public forum. Because of this, we have yet to developed a nuanced understanding of the prevalence and pathways this crime follows. However, a lack of information like this only broadens the possibilities for citizen to get involved and have an impact.

I’ve always found the seclusion of truck stops a bit depressing, but the thought of a girl being trapped there under deplorable circumstances now deepens my depression. In discussing this topic with a friend, we could think of at least three things to do in light of the Polaris brief (e.g. educate ourselves on the issue from more than one source, share the information with our road-warrior musician friends, visit Truckers Against Trafficking).

Excerpts from the brief:

“Sex trafficking can be present at commercially-operated truck stops as well as state operated rest areas and welcome centers due to their remote locations and the dominant male-customer base that use the facilities. These locations are often insulated from local communities, making it a convenient place for transient customers to purchase sex with minimal concerns of detection. Because these locations are also geographically isolated, it is difficult for victims to leave their situations and allows traffickers to quickly and frequently move victims without interference or undue attention.

In 2011, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) received 185 calls from callers who self-identified as truckers. Over 50% of those calls referenced human trafficking tips or crisis cases. The NHTRC also received reports about 79 unique cases of potential human trafficking at truck stops in 2011. The most common way callers learned of the NHTRC was through Truckers Against Trafficking.”

The Polaris Project brief also provides an insightful list of trucking vocabulary words related to prostitution (e.g. do you know what “beaver patrol” or “cub scouts” refer to?), as well as a concise explanation of recent investigations and court cases on the topic of sex trafficking at truck stops.

There is much more to learn, but this brief is a good introduction.

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