How thousands of truck drivers are combatting human trafficking, one truck stop at a time.

Note: This story contains descriptions of sexual violence.

When Beth Jacobs was 16, she was drugged, kidnapped, and forced into prostitution.

She says that her captor took her to a truck stop and forced her to have sex with a man who asked for a discount afterward because she “cried too much.”


Photo by Ira Gelb/Flickr.

This traumatizing experience was the first of many during her six years as a sex slave.

While the world is a dark place for the approximately 4.5 million people currently trapped in the human trafficking industry in forced sexual exploitation, this is also a story of redemption and heroes.

In 1983 — six years after she was kidnapped — Jacobs was arrested on prostitution charges for what she said felt like the hundredth time. A friend bailed her out, but instead of returning to her pimp, she fled. Jacobs eventually ended up at a battered women’s shelter, where she found the resources she needed to get her life back in order.

Now, she has made it her mission to combat the illegal sex trade and save others like her.

In fact, she’s helping to build an army of folks who want to help fight the sex trade every day … an army that could be almost 3.4 million strong.

Jacobs works as a trainer for Truckers Against Trafficking, or TAT, a nonprofit organization rallying America’s 3.4 million truck drivers to combat trafficking.

Beth Jacobs conducts a training for TAT. Image via Truckers Against Trafficking, used with permission.

She trains the drivers to spot traffickers so they can report their suspicions to the authorities. "If [these drivers] had been around [when I was a sex slave], I truly believe someone would have helped me," Jacobs said.

"The first thing truckers say when they hear about TAT is that they have daughters, they have granddaughters. They want to help," Truckers Against Trafficking’s executive director, Kendis Paris, said.

She’s been amazed by the sweeping acceptance of the program so far: There are over 214,000 people trained by TAT, and she has partnered with hundreds of companies in the trucking industry, including Walmart Transportation and UPS.

Image via Truckers Against Trafficking, used with permission.

Although truck stops can have bad reputations, the people running them often want to put a stop to human trafficking as much as anyone.

According to The Polaris Project, truck stops aren’t even on the top of the list for trafficking venues, though; in 2015, truck stops accounted for 1.5% of sex trafficking cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. But many of the venues of choice for sex traffickers — hotels, motels, bars — are also frequented by truckers, too. "They’re the eyes and ears of the country." she said.

The first organization to take a chance and partner with TAT was the truck stop TA and Petro Stopping Centers.

Since TAT’s first partnership with TA/Petro, they have since teamed up with multiple law enforcement agencies, trucking companies and nonprofits. Law enforcement in Kansas is the most recent of 22 state agencies that have partnered with TAT throughout the U.S., and the state highway patrol in Ohio provides information and training from TAT to everyone who obtains a commercial driver's license. Eventually, Paris hopes that it will be mandatory training in every state.

And by the numbers, it looks like TAT’s plan is working. Though calls to NHRTC hotline are anonymous, calls from truck drivers have skyrocketed since TAT came onto the scene. The hotline has received 1,371 calls from truck drivers since 2007, which involved 744 victims — 249 of which were minors.

The TAT driver training is free, and it only takes a short time.

Basic training for truck drivers is a 26-minute DVD designed to give the basics of what to look for and what to do in case they come across suspected sex traffickers.

Some of the warning signals TAT trains for are tattoos (for branding purposes), recreational vehicles with different people coming in and out, and cars flashing their lights on and off. If a trucker is suspicious, they’re instructed who to call the authorities or the NHTRC hotline. Truck drivers are told not to engage with suspected sex traffickers.

Drivers are also given a wallet card that bullet-points their training, and they’re encouraged to display posters that let victims of human trafficking know they have options, too.

Photo by Truckers Against Trafficking, used with permission.

While the drivers certainly can’t identify every victim of trafficking, the more eyes and ears we have out there, the better.

Human trafficking is a global problem, and it’s going to take a united effort to put a stop to it. But if the testimonials on TAT’s website are any indication, people are ready to fight.

"There’s a place for everyone," Paris said. "We provide the pathways for those who want to help."

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Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

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The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

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A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

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Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

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