Human trafficking may not always be easy to see, but it's happening all around the world.
Truckers Against Trafficking is just one of the many organizations trying to help fight this problem.
The non-profit is educating truck drivers so they can be alert while on the road and combat human trafficking while doing their everyday jobs.
Laura Cyrus is the director of corporate engagement for the organization, which has branched out to educate bus drivers, oil workers, solar workers, gas workers and others in the energy industry.
“We are really working to raise up a mobile army of transportation professionals that can assist law enforcement in the recognition and the reporting of the crime of human trafficking in order to aid in the recovery of victims and the arrest of their perpetrators,” Cyrus said.
Training doesn't take long. You can log onto the Truckers Against Trafficking website, watch a video, and receive other resources.
“Within 30 minutes, organizations can train their people on what to look for and what to do if they suspect they are witnessing human trafficking,” Cyrus said. M
According to the human trafficking hotline, 364 human trafficking cases were reported in Michigan in 2019. Of those, 282 were sex trafficking cases, 35 were cases of labor trafficking, ,30 cases weren't specified, and 17 cases were both sex and labor.
“Basically where there’s a large group of people whether its sports games, races, any kind of event. If it’s bringing people to that location human trafficking is going to follow,” said Michigan State Police Motor Carrier Officer Nathan Daugherty.
Daughtry says Michigan State Police joined forces with truckers against trafficking about six years ago. He says thousands of truckers have signed up in the state of Michigan alone and they've had a lot of success.
“A truck driver saw something a 14-year-old girl walking through the truck stop going from truck to truck he made a phone call saying it’s the middle of the winter she shouldn’t be doing this that resulted in the local authorities going out there and actually saved multiple girls and arrested multiple suspects through a multiple state operation," Daugherty said.
Cyrus says truck drivers see so crazy things while they are out on the road.
“Literally a victim of human trafficking may come knocking on their door at a truck stop or a rest area wherever they’re parked,” she said.
That's exactly what happened to Arian Taylor. He drives for Ballard Inc. Trucking out of Kentucky and has been a truck driver for almost 20 years.
In January of 2018, he says, he was on his way to Compton near Los Angeles when a young lady knocked on his door after he parked his truck at an industrial park
“She had two garbage bags full of clothes, few clothes around her off her shoulder, and I rolled the window down and I looked down at her and said…Can I help you and. And the first thing that came out of her mouth is, 'Is there any way you can take me home,'” Taylor said.
He told her would find a way and could tell something was going on with her because she burst into tears.
“Her story was, you know, pretty simple, that she and her friend and her older boyfriend came down to LA to kind of party for the week,” Taylor said.
He says the young lady told him the group ran out of money and the older boyfriend suggested the girls do a couple of things so they can continue to party, but the girls said no.
“He was getting more and more frustrated, and I guess that particular night, where she came to my truck, he had had enough,” Taylor said. “He knew where he was dropping her off to make her go away because it was an area where it wouldn’t take much for someone to walk up on her and just do God knows who or what.”
Taylor ended up calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline and the girl was able to make it home safely.
Taylor says there are many people out there who might be in the same situation or worse. He encourages drivers to take a few minutes out of their day to do the training. A simple phone call could help get someone back home or save a life.
If you need help or you've seen something suspicious call the human trafficking hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888.
Want to see more local news ? Visit the FOX47News Website.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox.
Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.