Human trafficking – a term that strikes fear in the hearts of many. It’s a horrifying reality, one that is often hidden in plain sight. In 2022, more than 115,000 victims of human trafficking were identified worldwide, according to the U.S. Department of State. This January, as we observe National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we are reminded of the importance of raising awareness, educating ourselves and others, and supporting the victims of this heinous crime.
To combat this atrocity, we must first shine a light on it. Awareness is the first step towards change. I strongly believe that education is one of our most powerful tools in the fight against human trafficking. By learning to spot the signs, we can make a difference.
As a national company committed to pushing innovation beyond our industry, PGT Innovations saw an opportunity in 2021 to save lives and serve our community. With our large truck fleet and footprint extending across the country, including the three states with the highest number of human trafficking cases per capita — California, Texas, and Florida — our team took action, implementing the training that was developed by the Truckers Against Trafficking organization as part of the Highway Heroes anti-human trafficking program. The project has been successful in training employees to spot signs of human trafficking while on the road. More than 400 team members and 120 truck drivers have completed the program.
Education about human trafficking involves understanding its nature, recognizing potential red flags and indicators, and knowing how to report suspicious activity. It’s about teaching our children, our friends, our colleagues about these signs, so they too can be vigilant.
Reporting suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities can save lives. If you suspect someone may be a victim of human trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline using one of the following methods:
- Call the toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888: Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocates are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking.
- Interpreters are available via phone call only.
- Text the hotline at 233733.
- Chat the hotline via https://humantraffickinghotline.org/chat.
- Submit a tip online through the anonymous online reporting form found on org/en/report-trafficking.
- However, please note that if the situation is urgent or occurred within the last 24 hours, we would encourage you to call, text, or chat.
Equally important is that we direct resources to human trafficking victims. We can support survivors by donating to or volunteering with organizations that provide these resources. We can advocate for policies that provide protection and support for survivors and harsher penalties for traffickers.
This year, PGT Innovations and our team members have stepped up to take additional measures to combat human trafficking and support victims. Multiple teams volunteered at One More Child, an organization that provides support to vulnerable children and struggling families in the fight against human trafficking. They helped make supply and food boxes for anti-trafficking mobile units that are distributed to victims of human trafficking. Additionally, many team members participated in the A21 Walk for Freedom in Miami to support the fight against human trafficking.
As we recognize National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, let us remember that our actions matter. Whether it’s educating ourselves and others, reporting suspicious activity, or supporting survivors, each one of us can play a part in the fight against human trafficking.
Let this month not only be about awareness but also action. Let’s stand together in the fight against human trafficking. Because together, we can make a difference.
President & CEO