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Motels, Trucking, Lawyers, and Human Trafficking

Jacob Bryant, PR Coordinator at Lanier Law Firm, sent us over some resources. It got me thinking about how we might consider working together with legal groups. Here’s where it all started:

“We have put together a guide about the connection between the trucking industry and human trafficking. We have included information about why human trafficking is prevalent in trucking, how are people victimized, and the signs truckers should know to look out for. Check it out:

Trucking & Human Trafficking – lanierlawfirm.com/trucking-and-human-trafficking/

We put a ton of work into it. If you think this guide could be helpful for your readers, would you consider sharing a link to this somewhere on your page? I’m sure you get a lot of requests like this, but I think it may be worth a look.

Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts about this.

Thank you so much for your time. Have a great day,
Jake
[email protected]
Lanier Law Firm, 10940 W. Sam Houston Pkwy N, Suite 100 Houston, TX 77064
www.lanierlawfirm.com”

My first response

 
Jake,
 

I’m excited to work with your group. You are one of the few that actually “get it” when it comes to the importance of ending human trafficking and I appreciate it greatly!

 
When you adjust the dollar figure on your page (The State Department is using the number $150 billion now – link here), I’ll link to your resources immediately. These human trafficking stats are so outrageous, I have to do all I can to make sure I’m giving the most up to date information. (Note: they did address this concern.)
 
You may have also seen these articles. I think we could really help people find some justice together.
 

Let me know what your colleagues think. Victims need justice.

 
Sincerely,
Billy Joe
 
PS Last thing for now… My nonprofit, Radical Empathy, created an interactive virtual reality application called TRAPPED: A VR Detective Story that teaches anyone that anyone could become a victim of human trafficking. It takes 15 minutes to get people to completely change their perspective. PBS did a feature on us. Check it out! It’s being used in University of North Texas Health Science Center, public schools, and in events across America to raise public awareness and improve training. Uprising (Wyoming) is using it at their GRIT Conference in May 2022.

This image is from Aug 13, 2020, but I included it because it shows this as a trend that will eventually need to be addressed by legal groups. We want justice for victims. Reach out to us if you want our help.

My second response

 
Jake,
 
Since you obviously know and care about the trucking industry, you most likely know a lot about Truckers Against Trafficking, as it is mentioned in your materials. They provide an online training video that comes with a 15 question quiz to ensure you watched the video, and then they provide a certificate. Other “driver-related” groups, like Convenience Stores Against Trafficking and the National Beer Wholesalers Association also provide videos, but neither of them even have a quiz.
 
One last example… mandatory hotel training was just passed into law in Texas, and the training from the Texas’ Attorney General doesn’t even require a quiz! I’ve done video / blogs to prove these things, because it’s so hard to believe:
 
What I’m getting at is that I want to dramatically improve training in industry-specific verticals. I’ve already made a course that covers the essentials anyone needs to know (Human Trafficking Essentials), and using its interactive instructional design* as a template, I’m currently working with PBJ Learning to change anti-trafficking training across the board.
 
I also see that people that have been trafficked are starting to find ways to get restitution for their pain, and if you see that trend, too, we might really be able to make a dent in this together. The biggest problem is that virtually no one understands trafficking, including professionals with criminal justice degrees. My partner has done a content analysis of criminal justice textbooks for his dissertation and I can back up my assertions with solid data. And I can guarantee you that after someone takes training that we have made, they will understand the problem well enough to be ready to convict
 
Sincerely,
Billy Joe
 
* Human Trafficking Essentials is designed with interactivity in mind. Interactive learning is six times better than passively watching videos or reading. A study from Carnegie Mellon University shows that students using interactive learning out-perform students only learning through instructional videos by a factor of six to one. The course includes practice lessons, activities, and short videos that all include different learning modalities, and it concludes with an assessment-based certificate.

Here’s the leadoff from the Lanier Law Firm page

There’s MUCH more on their site. 

Trucking and Human Trafficking

Human trafficking, or the use of force, fraud, or coercion for some type of sex or labor, is a $150 billion industry that often goes undetected. Unfortunately, truck stops remain a frequent location of trafficking crimes. While truck stops are not naturally hives of crime, they are, unfortunately, convenient and central locations for traffickers to move throughout the United States.

What is Human Trafficking?

Victims of human trafficking find themselves forced or coerced into engaging in specific types of labor or commercial sex acts without their consent. Often, human trafficking remains a hidden crime. Victims fear their abusers as well as law enforcement and suffer such significant trauma or personal injury that they struggle to reach out for help.

Human trafficking impacts people across genders, races, and ages. Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking, and all too often, that victimization occurs in the shadows. Human trafficking traps an estimated 24.9 million people–64% are exploited for labor, while sexual exploitation accounts for an estimated 19% of human trafficking.

Motels, Trucking, Lawyers, and Human Trafficking: Truck stop

Why are truck stops used for human trafficking?

Sometimes, truck stops are used for human trafficking because truckers themselves are involved in the process. More often, however, truck stops serve as easy-to-access rest and transfer points in the human trafficking industry because:

Truck stops are conveniently positioned across the United States.

Truck stops are located on major highways, offering a practical, direct route for human traffickers.

Truck stops are often located in remote areas.

Frequently, truck stops are located in areas that might not have other stopping points, including a wide variety of hotels. In addition, they are often off the beaten path since they need large stretches of land to accommodate trucks and trailers in the parking lot. Because truck stops are so remote, traffickers often feel safer: as though they are, in general, less likely to get caught.

A male customer base dominates truck stops.

In some cases, the male-dominated nature of truck stops makes them the ideal place for commercial sex transactions. In others, they are simply the perfect place to transfer human cargo since male truckers may be less aware of the potential danger associated with those transactions or less sensitive, in general, to the likely plight of a human trafficking victim.

Lanier Law Firm

Go check out the Lanier Law Firm page. There’s so much more. They have assembled some great resources.

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