August for many American friends and families means road trips in the car to fun getaways, enjoying time with loved ones.
I recently was on one of these road trips, heading back to Chicago from a weekend with friends. We stopped to get gas at a nice clean gas station, and as I sat in the car, I couldn’t help but think about how my situation, enjoying American fun, was completely the opposite from the horrific reality of victims forced to walk the alleyways of the trucks parked at that very gas station.
We’ve hosted a few truck stop outreach campaigns in the surrounding Chicago areas, and I remember the reaction of every truck stop worker to the question of — “Have you heard of ‘lot lizzards’?” Each time they kind of chuckle and say, yes, we’ve seen that around here. “Lot lizzard” is the term given to girls (or boys) seen offering themselves for money at and around truck stops.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough done to create awareness and change perception about where human trafficking is happenings. That’s where you and I can help. As modern day abolitionists, we have access to all kinds of materials and education on human trafficking. Next time you go on a road trip, throw some brochures in your glove box. If you need some, let us know.
When you stop to use the restroom or fill up, don’t be afraid to have a gentle, unassuming conversation and leave some education pieces and the hotline number (888-3737-888). It can never hurt, and changing perception is one of the most significant things we can do to stop human trafficking.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and keep up the fight to end modern day slavery!