An untold number of young girls are being transported across America's highways by traffickers. Though the destination for many of them is residential brothels and other sex trafficking rings, truck stops have become a popular place for traffickers to take their young victims.
One high school sophomore, Kate*, was asked by a popular boy in her class if she wanted to take a day trip to Oklahoma City. The innocent day trip turned into Kate's nightmare when the boy brought Kate to a truck stop where his father was. His father, a trafficker, then said[...]
"I'm a pimp, and you're my 'ho and you're going to make me money." Kate was terrified, and did what he said, because of the violent threats her pimp made if she tried to run away.
Truck stops are used by traffickers to find customers. There is a demand for these young victims, and this is another place traffickers look to fill their quota. The farther the girl's are from home, the less likely they will be able to find their way back.
Though there are women who voluntarily work at truck stops, many of the young women involved in the sex trade at truck stops are being exploited by their traffickers -- forced to trade their bodies for money. Massage parlors are placed strategically close to these truck stops, allowing traffickers to stay close to their victims. Special code words like "commercial" are sometimes used over CB radios to signify that a minor is for sale at a truck stop.
Kate* spent four months trafficking at truck stops, until the boy and his father were finally arrested under charges of sex trafficking. Sadly, many girls are still trapped in the horrors of being trafficked from truck stop to truck stop, where they are forced to meet a quota for their traffickers.
Not all truckers are involved in trafficking; the ones who are do not care about the age of the girls they are buying. It is easy to tell the difference between a 13 year old and a 20 year old female. The reason many 13 year old girls are involved is because it was easy to manipulate them in their young age.
Truckers Against Trafficking is one organization that was established to fight human trafficking that occurs at truck stops.
To read more about sex trafficking at truck stops, check out Polaris Project
*Name changed to protect the victim
Help Us End the Shelter/ Treatment Crisis
Change Cannot Happen Without You.
Learn How You Can Help.
Think Freedom Campaign is an initiative of Freedom Youth Project Foundation