NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KFTA) – “What they’re doing is making a difference,” Jennifer Sorey said.
Sorey is the founder of Hub of Hope which teaches people the signs of human trafficking and provides resources to over 70 survivors.
“It’s the commercial trade of a human being for-profit,” Sorey said. “It is people selling people.”
In 2019 the National Human Trafficking Hotline reported 121 calls from Arkansas. Out of those calls, 41 possible cases were identified. Most of those cases were sex trafficking.
“We’re digging something that’s been in the darkness for so long out into the light and so we’re able to see it for what it really is,” Sorey said.
J.B. Hunt is pledging its support for the USDOT’s call for trucking companies to educate their drivers about human trafficking.
“Truck stops are a place that trafficking is actually happening,” Sorey said. “A lot of traffickers utilize the CB radio to be able to learn really what the slang and terms are, where they’re disguising people for sale at different places,” Sorey said.
The company released this statement, “Victims of this crime are often hidden in plain sight at places our employees frequent daily, such as rest stops and truck stops,” Senior Vice President of Corporate Safety Greer Woodruff said. “As part of our company’s safety culture, J.B. Hunt employees are trained on recognizing the warning signs of trafficking and how to report suspicious activity. We proudly support the U.S. Department of Transportation’s initiative and are committed to helping end human trafficking.”
Sorey hopes other trucking companies follow suit.
“Many victims of trafficking are moved by their trafficker,” Sorey said. “Truckers can actually see the same individuals at different truck stops at different places from city to city – that would be a huge marker for them.”
Sorey says some of those signs include people who claim they’re older than what they look, what other businesses are around the truck stop like a massage parlor and lizard lots. “Somebody who actually does visit the different trucks that are parked in those lots,” Storey said.
She hopes the initiative not only cracks down on trafficking operations but assures victims there is help.
“It could actually mean rescue for someone,” Sorey said.
Sorey provided us with resources, including questions to ask to identify a potential victim –
- What type of work do you do? What are your working conditions like?
- Are you being paid? Does anyone take all or part of the money that you earn?
- Can you leave your job if you want to?
- Have you or your family ever felt threatened? Is anyone physically or sexually abusing you?
- Has your identification or documentation been taken from you?
She also provided us with a list of questions to ask a potential child victim –
- When did you start hanging out with this group?
- Are there any rules to hanging out with them?
- Have you ever wanted to leave or stop hanging out with this group?
- How do you take care of yourself when you leave home?