February 27, 2017 11:59 PM, EST

Auction of Donated Truck Will Raise Funds to Fight Sex Trafficking

Kendis Paris by John Sommers II for TT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Phoenix truck dealer has organized a campaign to build a special “Everyday Heroes” tractor that will be sold at a June 20 Ritchie Bros. auction, with the proceeds being donated to a group fighting sex trafficking.

The project could raise $157,000 or more for Truckers Against Trafficking, a nonprofit group devoted to stopping human trafficking by educating, mobilizing and empowering the nation’s truck drivers and rest stop employees.

The group, which had a nearly $600,000 budget last year, runs a website and has formed coalitions with law enforcement and trucking industry stakeholders in 28 states.

The effort to build the shiny-blue Kenworth T680 truck was the product of donations from a large group of “caring industry suppliers,” said Don Blake, new truck sales manager for Inland Kenworth in Phoenix.

The organization will receive the proceeds of an auction of the truck donated by an array of vendors June 20 at the Richie Bros. Auction in Phoenix.

“This truck is testimony to the way the American trucking industry has once again stepped up and decided to do something about this,” said Kendis Paris, TAT’s executive director.

The group runs a national hotline that truckers and others can use to report seeing signs of sex trafficking at rest stops, hotels and elsewhere.

“It takes money to combat this crime,” Paris said. “It takes money to put out these materials.”

“The drivers really are the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways,” Paris said. “They’re in places where they're intersecting with victims and they are making calls that are saving lives.”