Human trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar criminal enterprise affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands in the U.S. and more than 20 million people globally.
As a transportation leader with a global network of employees, UPS is uniquely positioned to help stop human trafficking. The company has stepped up its efforts to stop human trafficking through stronger policies, employee awareness and philanthropic partnerships.
In 2016, UPS joined forces with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), whose mission is to teach truck drivers how to recognize and report the signs of human trafficking. Following a pilot project between TAT and UPS Freight, TAT training was expanded across UPS operations. Now, more than 100,000 UPS delivery and tractor-trailer drivers nationwide have received TAT training materials and have access to an anonymous helpline where they can report suspicious activity.
UPS also supports TAT with in-kind transportation of TAT’s Freedom Drivers Project (FDP), which uses a semi-tractor trailer equipped with educational resources that serves as a mobile educational exhibit on human trafficking. This provides many people with their first glimpse into human trafficking, as well as simple action steps anyone can take.
In 2019, FDP took part in 39 events, traveling nearly 38,000 miles to 25 states and hosting nearly 9,000 visitors. UPSers served as volunteers for seven of the events, hauling FDP nearly 11,000 miles and providing maintenance assistance when needed while on the road.
When UPSers realized how much time the FDP would spend in company yards between events, they asked TAT if there was a way to maximize the 48-foot trailer’s availability for local employees. So UPS Freight drivers John McKown, David Pugh, Vernon Brewer, Terry Hilliard, Arthur Harley, and Wayne Williams became FDP certified and were allowed to open the FDP for their fellow employees. These UPSers hosted the FDP at the UPS CACH facility in Chicago – TAT’s largest corporate event of 2019.
In 2020, The UPS Foundation provided funding to support TAT’s new podcast, Driving Freedom. The podcast features short episodes on critical issues related to human trafficking and provides life-saving information for the UPSers and other truckers who are trained to recognize and report suspicious activity they encounter while on the job.
In the fall, a group of UPSers, spearheaded by Wayne Ponschke, and Paul Barnes created a video and other measures to bring awareness of human trafficking to their coworkers.
Given the impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable communities, UPS is launching stage two of its partnership with TAT to make the training available to every driver in the U.S.