This episode of Big Rig Banter takes a hard look at the human trafficking epidemic with a very special interview with Beth Jacobs, a field trainer from Truckers Against Trafficking. Learn about what the trucking community can do to fight these crimes, and get the resources you need to make a difference in the lives of victims while spreading awareness!
https://humantraffickinghotline.org/ Or Call: 1 (888) 373-7888
The Human Trafficking Epidemic – Big Rig Banter Ep. 8 – Full Transcript
Warning this podcast contains sensitive material some listeners may find offensive. Listener discretion is advised.
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Connor: Hello and welcome to BigRigBanter a show about all things commercial driving and transportation related. I’m your co-host Connor Smith.
Troy: And I’m Troy Diffenderfer.
Connor: And today we’re going to be covering a very sensitive topic you probably heard our content warning in the beginning there but today’s topic is human trafficking and sex trafficking. And this is something that Troy and I have been digging into and researching for a bit of time now and we actually had the pleasure of sitting down with someone from Truckers Against Trafficking. Her name’s Beth Jacobs and she gave us a lot of great information on the issue and her story and we’ll get to that a little later in the program. But, I think we’d like to start things off today with just a basic overview of this issue and some recent news headlines.
Connor: So Troy, why don’t you take it away here I know you have a story for us just to start things off. It’s the recent incident in San Antonio. So, why don’t you tell us more about that?
Troy: Yeah so, this story, Connor, basically takes us down to a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio. There was essentially 40 people found in the back of a large truck. Ten of them were dead and 30 were injured including some small children which is always unfortunate. They were eventually found by a Walmart employee when one of them asked the employee for water. And authorities would later find them and these people were basically in a hotbox. It was about a hundred and ten degrees outside just baking on this this metal box that had no working refrigeration system. They were essentially sitting in there and surprisingly the driver is claiming that he knew nothing about it but, currently he is being held and charged with a variety of charges including transporting illegal immigrants and stuff like that and he could face pretty much his life in prison or even death depending on how that turns out. And I’m sure we will kind of keep you guys informed.
Connor: Yeah absolutely, and so to kind of break into this a little bit more in depth when we talk about things like human trafficking and human smuggling there’s a slight distinction there actually. When you’re smuggling you know you’re essentially committing a crime against a border and so it’s not that these people were necessarily held against their will or they were they were being transported against their will, many of these people actually wanted to come into the United States and they paid the ultimate price for it essentially. And it doesn’t make it any less of a grave situation for those people but you know there are different nuances to the ways that this is playing out in the world. And so you have people being smuggled, you know, paying smugglers to get them into another country, whereas in human trafficking it’s more of it can be more of an abduction situation and a sex slavery situation. And so our next story here is going to hit on the digital realm and how that actually plays a part in this whole operation and these crimes. And Troy, I know you have a bone to pick with this website they’re called Backpage, is that right?
Troy: Yeah, that’s true and I guess this kind of and I’ll call it a hatred for this website started when I watched this documentary it’s called I am Jane Doe. I’m sure you can find it online it might still be on Netflix but it’s definitely a very interesting documentary. And they basically it talks about how Backpage promotes the sex trafficking industry and the sex trade industry.
Connor: So, what is Backpage.com? What do they do?
Troy: I always describe it as a sleazy Craigslist. Essentially you can buy and sell things on there but unfortunately with that comes very sleazy buy and trade markets including sex. And many of these men and women will describe themselves as personal masseuses or just personal dates for the night when, in fact, it is a cover-up for sex trafficking. And I actually stumbled across this article on the New York Times that’s really interesting where Google is actually blocking some bills that would really put a damper on Backpage.com and how they operate.
Connor: So, wait, you said they’re actually in support of a bill that’s going to hinder Backpage’s crimes and sex trafficking operation? Is that right?
Troy: That’s the crazy thing. Google is actually opposing this bill that would really fight sex trafficking which has many people up in arms. The answer has to do with section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which protects Internet companies like Google from lawsuits and it also protects Backpage. So, it’s really difficult to prosecute Backpage when they do uncover issues of sex trafficking. This law is in place for them. And for some reason, Google seems to have a vague and really poorly grounded fear that closing this loophole will open up a flood of lawsuits towards them. Obviously Google is this huge conglomerate. And they feel like closing this will be an invasion of privacy and it’ll open this whole can of worms that they are imagining and people are really upset because it’s hindering police and higher authorities from cracking down on these sleazy websites like Backpage.com. So that’s kind of the bone I have to pick with them and that’s why I really encourage you to watch the documentary I am Jane Doe. It’s an awesome look at some behind the scenes crime that’s going on that many people might know about similar to human trafficking and sex trafficking in the trucking industry.
Connor: Yeah, so that’s just some that’s crazy like I feel as though I heard you wrong the first time and yet it’s true that Google is actually opposing this legislation. And what’s interesting is that this is one of the rare pieces of bipartisan legislation that seems likely to become law. So, you know, both sides of the aisle are on board with this type of thing and while people are saying also that you know to stop this act it doesn’t it doesn’t excuse Google from really condemning this and trying to seek an advantage or avoid potential lawsuits of their own just to have sex trafficking persist in the form it does on Backpage.
Troy: Yeah and I’m all for the freedom of the Internet and freedom of speech but when something as despicable as this is putting people’s livelihoods in danger… I mean there’s thousands of people that sex trafficking affects every single day and the fact that there’s websites like this kind of helping it- it’s infuriating and I know it gets a lot of people fired up and that’s why I’m glad we’re here to talk about it and inform you listeners and we really hope that you kind of take this information to heart for sure.
Connor: Absolutely. All right and so our next story is an article I found on CNN.com called “Eyes of the Highways: Raising a Trucker Army for the Trafficking Fight.” And it talks about the story of Kevin Kimmel who was just your run-of-the-mill trucker and he was stopped at a truck stop at one point and he noticed that there was an RV parked and it didn’t look like a particularly family-oriented vehicle. It had blacked-out windows and everything so he went up to it knocked on the door and was surprised to find a sex trafficking victim holed up in there. And so he immediately alerted the police. And so really this article is talking about how truckers like Kevin Kimmel are increasingly seen as operating on the front line in the fight against human trafficking and the role that truckers can actually play in helping this cause. The crime itself, human trafficking, is described as a form of modern-day slavery essentially in which traffickers use force fraud or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his or her will. And you know victims are often women and young children, but men and boys can also be trafficked. Potential incidences of trafficking have been reported in every state in America according to NHTH hotline data and the issue was recently described as an epidemic by President Trump. And so this article also discusses that the most at-risk individuals are usually without a strong social or family support network although anyone can be targeted given the circumstance.
Troy: Yeah and you know luckily there are many organizations out there sprouting up and some major ones already established like Truckers Against Trafficking and we were able to sit down with Beth Jacobs who is a field trainer for Truckers Against Trafficking. You’ll hear us refer to it as TAT in the interview. But, she actually has a very personal experience and it was a very intense interview, wouldn’t you say Connor?
Connor: Absolutely it was. But, I think it’s a necessary interview that we have to bring to you guys to really help raise awareness and get a perspective on this issue.
Troy: Yeah and just as a second warning this interview does contain some explicit material that may make you feel uncomfortable, but we do believe this is a very educational interview and that you’ll be able to learn a lot from it. So, here’s that interview.
Connor: All right, so we’re here with Beth Jacobs from Truckers Against Trafficking, that’s TAT, and today we’re going to be talking a little bit about just the whole human trafficking issue with some insider knowledge here. Beth, thanks for coming on the program.
Beth: Thank you for having me!
Connor: Absolutely. So, to start here, just wondering, could you tell listeners about your professional background and how you got involved with TAT?
Beth: I went to school I have a Social Work degree. And I’ve worked with many people who were trafficked for a very long time. I’ve been training people. I was able to assert one of the first John schools. That’s what they called them. But they’re Offenders Restitution Program, which focused on the demand side. So, that was a very good learning experience as well. Yeah, so I’ve just been working in this area. I’ve dedicated my life to this.
Connor: Awesome. So, what exactly is a TATs main goal or mission statement?
Beth: Our mission statement is to educate, equip, empower, and mobilize members of the trucking industry to combat human trafficking. Because you know the truckers are eyes and ears of the road really. I mean they can really help with this issue. We have three main goals and one is to saturate the trucking industry or saturate the trucking and related industry with TAT materials. And we also want to partner with law enforcement and government agencies to facilitate investigation you know to catch the traffickers, the pimps. And then we want to you know take- we want the people who are working on this issue to work together and turn and use their best efforts to stop this. Because you know it’s happening everywhere. It’s happening in our world. It’s like we’re not looking at this. It’s in broad daylight, you know. I think when we deny that it’s happening in our area, it’s an open field for traffickers.
Troy: And I know obviously it’s a sensitive topic, but we know you have a personal experience with the trafficking industry and it’d be great if you could tell us as much of your story as you can.
Beth: Yes. I know I wish I could tell you all of my story. I don’t know how much time we have, so…
Troy & Connor: Oh yeah. We have plenty of time so feel free.
Beth: Okay you know I tell my story because I get to educate people while I tell my story. You know I don’t tell it just to say, “Oh wow, this happened to her.” I want people to understand how this happened and it can happen to anyone, you know. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I didn’t sign up and say, “Hey, pick me please! I want to be a prostitute! What a great career choice.” You know it didn’t happen that way. You know I came from a rural area. And my parents were- my father had to go up on the Iron Range to find work for our family. And so he was away from our family a lot. You know, it was a three-hour commute, one way. So, he would stay up there during the week and then come home on the weekends. Well their marriage didn’t withstand that. And so, when he came back he moved to Brooklyn Center which is a suburb right outside of Minneapolis. And so you know my parents kind of played favorites. My sister she was the golden child. She still is the golden child. And I was my dad’s favorite. But, he wasn’t there so it was really hard for me. So, when he came back I asked if I could go stay with my dad and they said yes that I could. I had to get a job and I to finish my GED. And I agreed to that I said, “Yes, I will do that.” So, I went to stay with my dad and he taught me how to use the bus system, you know, to get around. So, the way that they did it is- and you know even though I lived in the suburb, every time I wanted to go somewhere I had to take a bus to downtown Minneapolis and then transfer. I don’t know why they did it that way but they did. So, I was always at the same transfer bus stop. Well right by the bus stop there had so happened to be a pool hall type bar. And one day there was a guy standing outside of the door and he yelled, “Hey baby, why don’t you come on in and shoot a game of pool?” And I said, “Yeah, no. I can’t get in there I’m only 16. You know they’re not going to let me in.” He was like, “Oh yeah they’ll let you in. This is my joint. They’ll let you in.” You know, he was just acting like he went there so often they’d do anything for him. So, I said okay why not. So, I went in and they did let me go in. I was shocked. And they served me a beer. And you know, I thought I was very grown-up then. You know I mean here I am only 16 and they’re letting me into a bar in downtown Minneapolis, you know, and they let me drink. And I was surprised. But, you know, I felt good about that. So I would actually- because I had to wait for the bus all the time, there was always like 40-minute wait, so every time I went down there, well not every time, but more often than not, I would go into his bar and shoot a game of pool, while I was waiting for the bus. So, one day I missed the bus. It was a weekend and I didn’t know the bus schedule changed. So, I called my dad to come and get me and he came and got me. But, you know he scolded me all the way home he was like, “You know you have to be more responsible. I only have two days off a week.” You know he was right. He was right. I should have been more responsible. So I said, “Please Dad, I promise. I’ll never do it again. I swear.” You know I didn’t want him to send me back to the little small town. And he said okay. So, he let me stay. Well, the very next day, I went in there to shoot a game of pool again, but I’m looking at my watch this time, right? I didn’t want to miss the bus and so I go out there, you know, like ten minutes before the bus would come and I did miss the bus. The bus schedule changes again on Sunday and I wasn’t responsible and I didn’t call the bus company and find that out. And I just, I couldn’t call my Dad. I couldn’t let him down. I just swore to God I would never do that again the day before and I said, “Wow if I call him he’s going to send me back.” And so I didn’t. You know and I went into the pool house to ask for a ride home. And that’s kind of what changed my life forever. So, I went in and I saw this guy. I had met these two guys you know maybe a week before that. And you know I got to know them a little bit, it might have been two weeks and they invited me to a barbecue. So, I went to the barbecue and they took me home from the barbecue; everything was fine. So, one of them guys was in the pool hall. So I asked him I said, “Hey could you give me a ride home?” And he was like, “Well I have Miko’s car. Let me call him and see.” It was Miko and Mo. Mo was the one that was in there. And I said okay. So, he acted like he called him and he’s like “Yep. He said you can just ride with me. He’s at a party. I’m going to drop you at the party and the car and then he’ll take you home.” Well, I kind of thought Miko cute. So I thought he wanted you know to ride with me to talk to me. You know because when I went to that barbecue was he asked me a bunch of questions. And I just, you know, I thought he liked me. And so you know I said, I asked him how long will that take? You know because I didn’t want to get in big trouble and he told me it would take a couple hours. And I said okay. You know, I figured well at least I’ll get home. I’ll get to see Miko and go and talk to him, you know? And so I got in the car and when I got in the car he had a couple McDonald’s cups. And he was like, “Well, we’re going to a party. You want to have a drink?” And I said sure. So, you know he handed me one of the McDonald’s cups and I took a drink out of it and then, yeah, the next thing I remember he was waking me up and it was dark outside. And I got scared because there’s no way it should have been dark outside yet, right? And so in Minnesota at that time of year there, it would have been- I had four more hours before it woulda got dark. So I said, “Where are we?” And he said, “We’re at a truck stop.” And he said, “Baby, do you know what I am?” And I said, “No.” And he said, “Baby I’m a pimp.” I looked at him and was like, “Oh wow, that’s great. But, I’m not that kind of girl.” I laughed nervously, you know, because that’s what I do but I get nervous and scared. And so, I told him I wasn’t that kind of girl. I tried to open the door and get out. He grabbed me by the hair, pulled me back in, and beat me and he said, “No bitch. I didn’t ask you. This is what it is. You belong to me now. You’re going to sleep with this guy in this truck and he’s going to give us the money and we’re going to go to Chicago. And, so yeah, I mean I got scared. He beat me up right there in the parking lot and there were other people there, you know. He put me in the truck. The truck driver raped me. I asked the guy, “Please, help me,” of course, he didn’t. He took me out of the truck when he was done, gave me back to the trafficker, and he was telling the trafficker. Then, he told me, that if I ever lost any more money for him he would kill me and my father and so, wow I was really scared. He had a gun. I was sixteen. I couldn’t run. Where was I going to run? And people kind of saw, I mean it was dark out, but they saw him beating me and nobody helped me. I truly believe nobody helped me because they didn’t know what to do. I really believe that with all my heart, and that’s why I do what I do, because I want to tell them what to do, you know? I want to give them the resources because I believe if somebody knew what to do, this might not have happened to me. You know? And so, that’s how I got in. And I think it’s important for people to know that. I asked for a ride home. You know, that’s what I needed, and just a ride home. Unfortunately, I got much more than that. He didn’t take me home. He took me to Chicago.
When we got to Chicago, he brought me to this hotel on Lincoln Avenue. When you drove in, you had to drive right by the office and there was a courtyard of a parking lot, if you know what I’m talking about. It was just like a big square. So, you couldn’t drive through the parking lot, you had to turn around and go back past the office. And just looking at things, it was just crazy. It’s what stereotypically you would think prostitution looks like. There were girls there dressed provocatively, flashy cars, there were a bunch of guys who were pimps. It was crazy. I said “How could this be? Where are the police?” Why wouldn’t they shut this down? How is this possible?
But, it was Chicago, so there were crooked police everywhere, just like there’s crooked people in every field. And when I think about it, law enforcement if they are crooked there, who would they gravitate towards? They would gravitate towards, you know, prostitution and drug dealers because they could take money. And that’s probably why it was allowed to be there. I can’t tell you my whole story because you’d be here all day. I stayed in that life for six years. After you get beat down, over and over and erased, I mean that told me I wasn’t any good anymore, and I believed that because I was brought up in the church, and they focus so much, of course, on virginity. It was so important that you didn’t sleep with someone out of wedlock, and if you did, you weren’t any good and nobody would want you. And they asked me questions, Miko and Moe, they were asking me about my religion at that barbecue. Now that I think back. I thought they liked me and here I was getting this false sense of trust from them. And really they were just collecting information to figure out how to best traffic me. They knew they could tell me, “You’re no good now aint nobody gunna want you.” And I believed that. They told me I was born to be a ho and I just had no self-esteem left. I didn’t no where to go.
I tried to leave a couple times. The last time I tried to leave, I couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted to go home. There’s a big part of my story that I could tell you, but I just think it might take too long. I couldn’t take it anymore. I earned the privilege to get outside. They kept me in that room for I don’t really know how long, it seemed like a long time, and there was this girl that would come in and put makeup on my face to make me try to look cuter because they brought guys into me. At I first I asked them to help me and I would just get beat up because they weren’t gunna help me. They came in there for what they wanted. I learned quickly I had to do what they said otherwise I would get hurt. And so the girl, I think she kind of felt sorry for me because I was pretty hard-headed sometimes. And she was like “Just do what they say and act like you like it and they’re going to let you go outside.” She then told me what to do to choose another pimp because this pimp beat me up all the time. He probably would have killed me. Eventually he did let me go outside. And it wasn’t just him, it was him and there were these young dudes that would ride around us on bikes to make sure we were doing the right thing. I mean it was like a team of people. They worked together. I really felt like I had nowhere to go. I felt like he saw everything that I did. You know he was sometimes in the hotel that he put me in. There was a closet door that had like slat blinds shutters, you know what I’m talking about? You can kind of see through them?
And in that closet there was a fake wall. I mean this hotel was perfect for what they were doing. So he would sometimes go in there and watch me. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t keeping any money. That really scared me and I thought that he could see everything that I did. Always. I felt like he was always watching me. I didn’t feel like I could escape or get away. It was crazy.
Connor: Thank you. Well thank you for sharing so much so far. It sounds like a very intense painful experience. It’s great that you were able to finally get away and are doing much more and finally bring awareness about this issue now. I’m sure your experience mirrors you know a lot of other women and people in this sort of thing going on,
Connor: So, I’d just like to talk a little bit about why do you think people are still so ignorant of this issue? Do you think they choose to ignore it or do you think there’s been any change in like the last 20 years since your experience at least?
Beth: Yes, there’s been a lot of change. It’s always been here, but we didn’t call it human trafficking back then. I think trafficking and prostitution definitely go hand in hand. People think that they’re two totally separate issues and they’re really not. A lot of people who are prostituted are trafficked. In 2008 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did a pilot project with Polaris and there were a handful of agencies that worked with prostituted women. They wanted to know how many prostituted women were actually trafficking victims. So, they sent us these interviews and we gave the interviews and filled out the paperwork and we faxed it back to Washington DC, and they determined if that person was a trafficking victim or not. And I know for the agency I worked for, we sent 120 interviews in, and out of the 120 interviews, 118 were deemed to be trafficking victims. Isn’t that something?
Connor: That’s crazy, yeah.
Beth: I mean that’s a huge percent. So, I think we need to look at that. A lot of people wanna say that “Oh half those people, they wanna be out there. They chose it.” It’s just not true. I think that statistic is way too high. I think more people are trafficked than not, to be honest.
Connor: And so, is there any legislature that has gotten traction or anything that is going into law to help fight against this? I know you’re very active when it comes to taking on the government on these issues. Anything you can talk about in regards to that
Beth: Yes. There is a federal bill right now. I think each state needs to have vacating laws. And all that means is that a person was a victim of trafficking, has the ability to petition the court and say “Hey this is what happened to me.” I think some people think I’m asking for their records just to be dismissed. That’s not true. I’m just asking that they get a court date because it follows you. In 2011 I was hired in the state of Arizona, moved to Arizona, I was hired as a sex crimes investigator, and I was able to work for a month. They fingerprinted me because they said I need a clearance card to work with people there. So a month after the fingerprinted me, my supervisor called me into the office and she was like “Oh my gosh I got to let you go,” she didn’t tell me why. They didn’t tell me why at first. They said it had something to do with your fingerprints. And I said, I was pretty sure what it is and I told her that when I was young, I was trafficked and part of that was going to jail. She told me what to do. She said file an appeal and once you get the clearance card call Human Resources and get the job back. I did it and I won the appeal. I called Human Resources and said, “How do I get the job back?” And they said, “Oh no we’ve decided not to rehire you. And I said, “Well, why is that?” and they told me because I didn’t disclose. And I said, “Yeah, because it’s a misdemeanor. It happened 30 years ago.” I mean, it was when I was 17 really, and I just couldn’t believe it. I said that I don’t want to disclose and I asked how long in the state of Arizona do I have to disclose the misdemeanor charge? I was told that I had to disclose for 99 years after the date of the offense.
Beth: Yeah! That’s a life sentence. I was like, “Wait a minute. That’s not right.” And that’s what had me start doing legislative work. So I was able to pass a law in Arizona, a vacating law, so victims can petition the court and tell the court what happened to them. There is a federal bill right now which I think will be very helpful if it passes. Each state can use that as a skeleton, to create vacating laws in their own state. We just need to be able to work a job like everybody else. That’s all I wanted. I just wanted to work a job, and I was being told I couldn’t work a job. I went to school for social work, I mean, what job am I gonna get that’s not with people as a social worker? It’s crazy, I mean, I’ve dedicated my life to this. I’ve given back. I need to be forgiven. I need to be able to have my civil liberties and work a job and rent an apartment, and it doesn’t happen for us.
Troy: So, tell us about some of the workshops you do and some other ways you promote TAT besides promoting this legislature.
Beth: Well, I like to do workshops. We travel the country and we train law enforcement. We actually tailor the workshop to what that particular area wants and needs. It’s amazing. I love my job because I can tell them what we’re thinking as a victim. I can give them a victim’s perspective and tell them why we might not answer. They think we don’t want help. That’s not true! I think the fear that is instilled in us blocks out a lot of options. I think it’s really important for them to hear that. In my life, I don’t know if you’ll understand this, but the prostitution part became irrelevant. I didn’t look at that. That’s what I had to do to get someone to love me. I believed that. I disassociated. I didn’t think about what I was doing. I just wanted someone to love me. It’s crazy, I really like to do this though because I think I can give them a perspective that they don’t have and that they can’t get from someone who’s not a survivor.
Connor: Absolutely, yeah! And so what are some things that truckers and the commercial driving industry should look for while on the road or at these truck stops. Is there anything that you might suggest that they can do or take action on?
Beth: Anything that doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t right, you know? And it’s like make the call. We have little wallet cards that have the National Human Trafficking Hotline number on it. It tells you what to do if you see if a victim. We don’t tell you to go confront the trafficker. We don’t think that’s a good idea, but you know if you’re at a truck stop for example, it tells you who to call and what to do. We tell people to call the police although you know I’m often in training the police, but we kind of talk about what to do you. We also give them a resource paper so that they have phone numbers that they can call. I think we think that law enforcement knows what to do, but they often don’t know what to do because it is so hidden in plain sight that they don’t know what to do. They don’t have the resources to take somebody to a shelter all the time, for example. They can’t provide housing and they often are the first point of contact with the victim, but we need to help them with the resources so they can really help them and make a change.
Connor: So in addition to those resources you just mentioned, are there any others that you’d like to point truckers or even victims to in order to take advantage of these other resources?
Beth: You know, if it doesn’t look right, call the National Trafficking Hotline and they have resources that they can give you no matter where you are, no matter what state you’re in. They’re very helpful actually. So, that would be something that I would definitely tell them to do. I always talk about the victim-centered approach because it’s so important because we have been this basic mistrust towards law-enforcement. Because the trafficker from day one has told us “don’t trust these people. They’re gunna hurt you. All they’re gonna do is take you to jail.” Well I’ve been to jail lots and lots of times. So, what the trafficker says seems to be true. So, I think it’s so important that they try to establish a good relationship with a victim. If they look thirsty, give them a bottle of water. Or, don’t grill questions at them and treat them as if they’re the criminal.
Connor: Absolutely. Well thank you so much. I really appreciate sharing your experience and doing what you’ve done so far just to bring awareness to this issue. It is seeming like it’s something that you know people want to try to ignore but they really can’t. You know, it’s the darker underbelly of the trucking industry so to bring awareness to it is definitely a positive step in the right direction I think. But yeah, thank you Beth once again just a lot of great information there. I’m sure listeners are going to really enjoy and hopefully have the information they need to step up and make change in their own lives and others around them in the community. Any final thoughts you’d like to add?
Beth: Just that this can happen to anyone. No one is detached from it, so we need to share the information with our young people because we gotta give them both sides. Trust me, with the internet, the traffickers are coming into our homes and talking to our kids, saying, “Hey meet me at the mall. I’m 14, and they’re not 14.” So yes, be careful and educate your young people. Because we need to keep them safe and we need to let them know that the boogeyman is alive and this can happen to you and I think with education it prevents that and it puts that trafficker to a stop.
Connor: So thank you Beth for coming on again, that was a lot of great information.
Beth: Thank you for having me.
Connor: Alright, so again, a huge thank you to Beth Jacobs for coming on the show and giving us all that great information and telling her story. I really hope that resonated with some of you guys out there and will hopefully stir you to stay vigilant and help wherever you can. If you’re out on the road and you see someone in distress or in a situation you think might be suspicious and speaking of which you know there are a lot of great resources we mentioned a few during that interview, but we just want to reiterate again: the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline is available 24/7, so if you know if you want to report a tip, get help personally, or just browse the resource library be sure to head on over to traffickingresourcecenter.org or you can call +1-888-373-7888, and you know there’s people to assist you there in English, Spanish, and over 200 languages actually, you just got to make your way through the channel there but it’s more than possible to receive help through that organization. Additionally, of course, Truckers Against Trafficking, you can go to that website you’ll find again more great resources, workshops training materials, and statistics. Basically, all the raw information that you need to really start bringing awareness and raising this issue up into the light. Additionally, speaking of light there is the Polaris project as well. They’re a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that works to combat and prevent modern day slavery and human trafficking. They work directly with victims, they host tip and crisis hotlines, and offer solutions to those victimized by human trafficking, so just another great resource to check out, and we will have all of these resources listed below in the description and so just feel free to use those at your will.
Troy: Yeah thanks Connor, we both know this episode was pretty intense and kind of a downer and some points, but there are a lot of things that are already being done or in the process of to make human trafficking less of an issue and to kind of combat this epidemic and I just want to go over some of the positive takeaways from this, stuff that’s going on, stuff that’s really helping the fight so we can kind of end this episode on a high note, don’t you think?
Connor: As high as possible, yeah!
Troy: Yeah, so again we talked about it in the interview but legislature has been passed and that’s called the human trafficking victims act that will provide resources for victims of human trafficking and will make it easier to find jobs. Actually, that’s one of the most difficult things for victims that get out of the human trafficking industry is finding a stable job.
Connor: And Beth was saying that. She had to disclose that even though it was decades earlier. so it does hang around and it’s definitely something that can be overlooked in terms of support for the victims for sure.
Troy: For sure, and luckily pieces of legislature like this are really helping those victims so they can kind of restart their life and start fresh which I think is awesome. And obviously awareness is continuing to grow through these organizations like TAT and Polaris so we hope we see more organizations like this and they’re constantly growing and increasing their outreach which is an awesome thing to see and we appreciate Beth and those who are engaged in the outreach program for really growing the brand and spreading this awareness. We feel identifying the human trafficking situation has become easier obviously it’s no easy task but, with more information out there the awareness is growing, I think people are starting to speak up and there’s many ways you can report it whether it’s through a text message or phone call or directly calling the authorities. I think there’s a lot of different ways that you can kind of put your foot down and really help your fellow truckers.
Connor: And it’s just about kind of understanding the issue for what it is. You might be timid to report somebody because you’re like, “Well, how do I know their situation?” or something like that. But, just to consider that a lot of these victims are held against their will. I think this is an important take away as well because, as Beth mentioned, she said how people are like, “Oh they chose this lifestyle,” but so many of them haven’t chosen that lifestyle and have just been forcefully coerced into that situation so, you might as well speak before it’s too late if you have the ability to do so, but at the same time use your good judgment and caution because you are dealing in many cases with criminals and people who don’t mind using violence to get what they want, so you’re making these calls or you know you’re tipping the authorities off to something, do so responsibly. It’s not recommended that you approach the victims or their captors, so just keep that in mind and you can use your best judgement when dealing with these situations.
Troy: And just to go off that luckily law enforcement is continuing to get better at identifying the situation because, it can be tough. Many victims don’t really know how to reach out in a safe manner or are often too scared but luckily part of what Beth does is go around to different police forces and kind of train them on what to look for and kind of how to reach out to these victims, which is awesome. I think staying informative and being able to identify the situation is the first and biggest step to kind of combating the issue. We both really think truckers can become heroes in the situation wouldn’t you say? And it only takes a text or a phone call to change someone’s life for the better
Connor: Absolutely and so on that note, we’re going to close the show out here. Join us next time we’re going to have a show all about self-driving vehicles and automated trucks and kind of get back on the same old road that we’ve been driving down this whole adventure on BigRigBanter, but yeah thanks for listening once again I’m your co-host Connor Smith.
Troy: And I’m Troy Diffenderfer.
Connor: And this has been BigRigBanter.
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