Slideshow: Taking Trafficking Out of the Shadows

An exhibit of personal effects like a telephone, a hairbrush, and a prescription bottle.
“We asked all of the survivors we network with to send [personal effects] to us along with their stories,” says Truckers Against Trafficking’s executive director, Kendis Paris. While the Freedom Drivers Project highlights the facts and figures around trafficking, these personal items are the core of the exhibit.

Highways and rest areas are traffickers’ home turf, which is why Truckers Against Trafficking has been working since 2009 to make these places safer. Executive Director Kendis Paris founded the organization with the modest goal of spreading awareness and training for those professionals who, often unknowingly, share the road with these criminals. Six years later, she and her colleagues have rolled out their most ambitious effort yet: The Freedom Drivers Project, a mobile exhibit of trafficking statistics and personal effects from survivors.

Housed in a retrofitted 18-wheeler, the project has been in Paris’s mind for years. It became a reality in late 2013 in collaboration with the nonprofit educational company iEmpathize. (Read about iEmpathize’s additional efforts to help young people stay safe from exploitation in the next article, “Safety First.”)

In this slideshow, we talk to Paris about the purpose and future of the Freedom Drivers Project, which you can follow or visit in person. (See the schedule on their website.)

9-5 pm Eastern