DENVER (CBS4) – The arrest of 150 pimps across the country and in Denver in a three-day sweep highlights what federal agents say is a growing problem — child prostitution. Now a Denver group is trying to raise awareness of the problem.
Federal agents say truck stops are a common place to find human sex trafficking. It’s also at truck stops that everyday heroes can be found — the nation’s eyes and ears. The nonprofit Truckers Against Trafficking is calling upon truckers to report what they see so victims can get help.
At truck stops across America Chris Striker says prostitution is easily found. Striker, who owns his own transportation company, Centurion Transport, says it’s heartbreaking to see young girls.
“These gals surely have brothers, sisters, mothers, you know, and there’s surely a better path they could be taking,” Striker said.
With operation “Cross County” the FBI arrested 150 pimps and rescued 105 children nationwide, highlighting what Striker says he sees on the front lines.
“You can turn a CB radio on and drive through these metropolitan areas and it’s shocking what kind of marketing, advertising is going on,” Striker said.
Striker recently got involved with Truckers Against Trafficking, a national organization educating drivers to spot signs of girls forced into sexual slavery.
“I get calls from all over the nation from truckers who say, ‘I have daughters, I have granddaughters; how can I be a Trucker Against Trafficking?’ ” Kendis Paris with Truckers Against Trafficking said.
Paris encourages truck stop general managers and drivers to look out for groups of minors, often dropped off in a single car, who walk around with the presence of an older man.
“If the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways can recognize a human trafficking victim when they see it and make that phone call, then they’re in a significant position to make a really profound impact,” Paris said.
Striker says he’s called police before when something didn’t look right at a truck stop and now encourages his drivers to do the same.
“To try to reduce this heinous crime,” he said.
Truckers Against Trafficking encourages drivers to call (888) 373-7888 to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, rather than 911, because the folks there are specialized in dealing with the problem. It’s also a number for victims of the crime to get help.