Truckers Against Trafficking has awarded TravelCenters of America with its prestigious Champion Award in the Organization category. The award was presented Feb. 13, at TA’s biannual leadership expo in Sandusky, Ohio, with more than 850 employees in attendance, including general managers from locations across the nation and members of TA’s executive leadership team.
The Champion Award was created to recognize and honor the outstanding creative, innovative, generous and dedicated efforts of specific TAT partners whose actions have significantly furthered TAT’s work and mission to end human trafficking, recover more survivors and prosecute more perpetrators.
“Professional truck drivers are vitally important to helping us fulfill our work. From the beginning, TravelCenters of America knew they had the audience of people we needed to reach the most,” said Kendis Paris, executive director of TAT. “They not only invited us in; they took our mission and ran with it.
“They’ve trained thousands of employees on what to look for at the sites and are committed to supporting our work in whatever way they can. Without the support, commitment and actions of TA, we wouldn’t be as far along as we are today in the fight against human trafficking.”
The 2020 Champion Award took into account TA’s work with TAT including:
- TA created and held TAT’s very first product promotion and continues to sell TAT merchandise in its travel stores. In January and February of 2019, TA raised awareness and over $110,000 for TAT’s mission. TA is continuing the merchandise sales in 2020 and hopes to raise even more money.
- TA administers awareness and empowerment training to its more than 21,000 employees at over 260 locations across the nation. TAT has also had the opportunity to present to all of TA’s general managers, alongside a survivor of human trafficking. Kendis Paris also had the opportunity to present at TA headquarters.
- TA locations across the country serve as a point of distribution for TAT materials. TA engages its travel centers to distribute and display TAT’s messages and materials throughout the locations, including more than 2,500 posters to promote the prestigious Harriet Tubman award.
- TA engages leadership, leverages multiple streams of support within the company and engages external organizations to support TAT. In 2011, TA lent our cause credence and name recognition, encouraging other companies to become early adopters. President and COO Barry Richards recorded a specialized message to include at the beginning of TAT’s training video for all TravelCenters of America employees, emphasizing the organization’s passion in combating this crime.
“Human trafficking is a prevalent issue and we can’t just sit back when the opportunity to help combat this crime is at our fingertips,” said Barry Richards, president and COO of TA and a member of TAT’s Board of Directors. “With a captive audience of millions of drivers on our properties and thousands of employees across the nation, we knew we could make a difference, so we did. And we will continue to do so. I’d like to thank Kendis and Truckers Against Trafficking for this honor and for leading the charge to transform our industry.”
The TAT Champion Award was created in 2019 and honors state agencies, organizations and associations for their dedicated work combating human trafficking.