Well……..It has taken 11 months to get to this point, but we have finally made it! Now I can FINALLY tell you about it! In January of 2014, CCP was hosting a screening of the documentary, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls in Conover, NC and at the screening I was talking with Scott Ehrenreich (a professional truck driver) about human trafficking. He mentioned that he had seen some signs in a truck stop in Florida about human trafficking and it had phone number you could call. I told him that was probably Polaris Project (National Human Trafficking Resource Center). He said “No it’s a trucking group”. I did a quick Google search on my phone and I was introduced to Truckers Against Trafficking. As Scott and I continued to talk about how to raise awareness of the problem, he made a statement about truck drivers “Staring at the back of other trailers all day, and that would be a good place to start.” That’s all it took to get the wheels turning!
A good portion of human trafficking in the U.S. involves the transportation industry and it is taking place in truck stops, travel plazas, rest areas, hotels and motels along our interstates and major highways. As a member of the transportation industry, the president of a non-profit fighting trafficking, and as a father and a human being, I had to do something!
I sat down and put together a proposal I called “FREE Ways”. I presented the idea to the leadership of my employer, Snider Fleet Solutions, and it was well received. I knew that I would have to have some help with this project so I set my sights on Truckers Against Trafficking. I knew that with their endorsement, FREE Ways had a chance to succeed. The only problem…..I didn’t know anyone at TAT.
So with iPad in hand, I travelled to Louisville, KY to the Mid-American Truck Show in March of 2014. I walked into the convention center and found the TAT booth. I asked them to give me 5 minutes to share a dream with them. I was able to share the proposal with Kylla Leeburg of TAT. She thought the idea might work, so she asked me to share it with TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris via email. Two days later, I got a phone call from Kendis. After our telephone conversation, I realized just how well connected TAT is in the transportation industry. While the bigger part of me would love for this to be known as a project of Crossroads Compassion Project, God reminded me that this is not about YOU or CCP…..it’s about helping those girls (and boys). So I asked TAT to take this project and let’s move forward with it.
This project is pretty simple. After much debate, we finally came up with a design for an 11”x14” decal that will be displayed on the back of trailers. The decal introduces Truckers Against Trafficking, and it gives the hotline for the NHTRC. Snider Fleet Solutions will be the first fleet in America to display the decals on their equipment. The next step will be for us to engage our customers, the small, the large, and the national “mega-fleets” in the U.S., and challenge them to partner with us and display the decals on their equipment as well. Some of our customers have as many as 25,000+ trailers! Additionally, TAT offers FREE, online training for every driver in the fleet on how to recognize human trafficking, how to report it, what to report, etc. Together, we will build a network of “Watchdogs” on our nation’s highways, and we will blanket North America with these decals. We are also making a statement to the traffickers that we are watching, and we will take action!
Please keep an eye out for these decals on the highways. Beginning Nov.21st, TAT will offer these to independent drivers for $5 + shipping on their new online store. Also, please take time to visit the TAT website www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org and watch the short training video there. MAKE your daughters watch it! They need to know. They are also very active on Facebook. Find them and “Like” their page. I think you will be educated and challenged by what you see from TAT. They are on the front lines in the fight against human trafficking….and we are right there with them!
Think about this….just 11 months ago, a couple average guys were just simply talking about how to raise awareness about human trafficking when an idea emerged. Today, the idea becomes a reality and it is rolling out on a soon-to-be NATIONAL level! You don’t think YOU, or just one or two people can make a difference in the fight against human trafficking? THINK AGAIN! Get involved in this fight!