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Ep 103 - Truckers Against Trafficking
Episode 10321st June 2021 • Thru the Undertow • Nicole Lowell
00:00:00 01:00:09

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TTU: Episode 103 - Truckers Against Trafficking with

Helen Hofer Show Notes

Episode Summary

Hello and welcome to Thru the Undertow. This week’s episode is

an interview with Helen Hofer from Truckers Against Trafficking. We discuss how

this amazing organization came to be and the great things they are doing to

help in the fight against trafficking.

Guest Bio

Truckers Against Trafficking is an organization created to

educate, equip, empower, and mobilize members of the trucking, bus and energy

industries to combat human trafficking. It began

as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries in 2009 but became its own 501c3 in


Helen Hofer is the Director of the Freedom Driver’s

Project at Truckers Against Trafficking. As such, she utilizes the first-of-its-kind mobile exhibit to

educate audiences across the US about the realities of trafficking and how the

trucking and bus industries are driving change in this area. She has managed

trailer and event logistics for over 140 events in 40 states hosted by

companies, state agencies, associations and community organizations. She is

also the Salesforce Administrator, where she co-leads their team to full Salesforce

adoption. Helen joined Truckers Against Trafficking in 2015.




br*nding, as*ault, s*xu*l ab*se, pr*st*tution



points of interest:

01:00 – Welcome


01:09 –

Helen Hofer is the Freedom Driver’s Project Director for TAT. She manages

outreach and events. While she previously had no experience in the trucking

industry, Helen did have experience in the anti-trafficking movement.

01:46 –

Truckers Against Trafficking works specifically with the trucking industry including

the bus industry and the oil and gas industry and newly with wind and solar to

train CDL drivers to recognize and report suspected instances of human

trafficking to the National Trafficking Hotline.

02:37 – TAT

has free industry specific training videos along with wallet cards, posters,

and other training materials to give out to drivers.

02:57 –

TAT’s mission is to educate, empower, equip, and mobilize members of the

trucking, bus, and energy industries to combat human trafficking as a part of

their everyday jobs. We do that through saturating the industries with our

materials, training law enforcement, and partnering with the industry to help move

their mission forward.

04:08 – TAT

works with motorcoach transit, but also school bus drivers.

05:13 – How

Truckers Against Trafficking came about.

06:51 – The

level of impact that truckers can have on this issue.

07:45 –

Truckers are trained to more frequently observe and report as opposed to

intervene directly. Collecting as much information as possible without

interacting, if possible. They are also trained to look for certain signs of

trafficking such as branding, eye contact, minor involved, other individuals


10:45 –

Calling the National Trafficking Hotline can allow the hotline to take down

details and connect potential victims with law enforcement, advocates, and


11:05 –

TAT’s primary tools and resources are their free training videos available on

their website. The trucking video is on the home page. Others are located

through their programs tab. Wallet cards also have detailed information for

reference. TAT works with CDL schools and state agencies as well to get the

word out to the individuals.

11:50 –

Advocates can reach out to local companies to motorcoach hubs to schools to

even individual drivers to encourage TAT’s training be incorporated into any

employee training for drivers.

13:17 – 99%

of the time victims of trafficking did not choose this life. Helen and Nicole

discuss how some victims end up in the situation.

15:15 –

There’s also labor trafficking in the US in the construction industry and agricultural

crews among others.

15:36 –

Anywhere there are vulnerable people and greedy people you can find trafficking.

16:00 –

Helen was led to the anti-trafficking movement through learning about

international immigration in college. After learning about trafficking in

places like South East Asia and Europe, Helen happened to attend a meeting with

a friend in Boulder that was about human trafficking in America, she knew that

was how she wanted to make a difference going forward.

18:45 –

Nicole discusses how trafficking has impacted her own children, in particular

her youngest.

20:32 –

Helen brings up Driving Freedom the podcast that Truckers Against Traffickers produces.

23:12 –

Children that are trafficked lose the ability to self-love and to look at the

future in any positive fashion.

27:55 – Take

the opportunity to role play and talk with your kids about things to look for

that are potential signs as well as how to have compassion when interacting

with other kids that may have gone through experiences that are more traumatic.

29:35 –

Helen discusses the Man-to-Man program at TAT. The end of trafficking will be

the end of the demand for commercial sex. Many men who purchase sex do NOT

acknowledge the statistics of trafficking. TAT encourages truckers to take the

information from the training back to their neighborhoods to make even more people


31:03 –

Caregivers and advocates often suffer from secondary trauma and need to take

care of themselves when assisting people who’ve gone through traumatic

experiences. The longer you are in it, you could find yourself being more raw

to the circumstances of others as opposed to being numb.

33:07 – It

can be difficult to recognize that you can’t save them all and you can’t be

enough for those that are suffering. Self-care is extremely important to everyone

in the sexual abuse/mental health/advocate industry to be able to do their part


36:17 – We

need to embrace the “It takes a village to raise a child”. As a society we can

only work as well as our societal members. Are there things that we can do to

help them work better.

38:00 – The

advantage of TAT is that it works only in one specific area so it can work

really well as opposed to other organizations that might be in that “save them

all” mindset. Organizations that work in specific areas make the whole anti-trafficking

movement work better.

41:18 – Some

states require the TAT training as a part of the CDL licensure process.

Currently, that number sits at 12. TAT prefers to work with partners so it’s a

voluntary choice as opposed to trying to make it happen. Word of mouth is the

best way to move support forward.

43:39 – Even

people who are not in the trucking industry could benefit from watching their

free videos to learn more about the trafficking industry and things to look for

in terms of warning signs.

44:53 – TAT just

created a school outreach kit to reach out to schools for training.

45:45 – The

Harriet Tubman award is an award that is given out to a driver that has had a

direct impact in the industry. Helen shares two separate stories of Harriet

Tubman winners and how their actions positively helped a trafficking victim.

52:39 – As a

society we’re not trained to think of victims as victims, we’re trained to


56:33 –

Thank you for being with us. What are some things that listeners can do to

support you. The website is . See other action steps listed



Resources/Links to Information Referenced in the



Truckers Against Trafficking Website:


National Human Trafficking Hotline: Call

1-888-373-7888 (TTY: 711) or Text 233733


TAT Freedom Drivers Project:


TAT Driving Freedom Podcast:


TAT School Transportation Resources:


Calls to action:


Check out Truckers Against Trafficking or any of their

programs at their website. It’s extremely informative and there’s LOTS there to

look at. (also see other links above) Watch their FREE training if

you’re able.


Share the TAT site with truckers or people in the

transportation industry.


Don’t judge behavior without asking why it’s happening first.


Listen first.


Fill out the Contact Form at the TAT website to learn more

and to request materials.


Donate to TAT to help spread the word. One time, monthly, or

host a fundraiser.


There is a volunteer training that you can do for outreach so

you can go out to businesses like truck stops, trucking companies, bus

stations, bus companies, etc in your area to let them know about TAT. Contact

TAT for more information.


Listen to the Driving Freedom Podcast!


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Recognize that victims of trafficking might not appear the

way you expect.


Keep your eyes and ears open and report things if you feel

someone is in danger.


Remember you only have to get through one moment at a time.


Remember we’re here to help you get Thru the Undertow.