Marathon Petroleum’s Transport and Rail organization has rolled out a training program from Truckers Against Trafficking, a nonprofit organization focused on educating members of the truck, bus, and energy industries about the realities of human trafficking and how they can combat it. Marathon Petroleum has started training transport drivers, company leaders and other employees to identify human trafficking situations on the road and how to report suspicious activity.
“We are trying to get as many of our employees certified as possible,” said Robert Leipheimer, Transport Operations senior manager with Marathon Petroleum. “We have an opportunity to take an extremely active role in fighting this and stopping it when we see it.”
Marathon Petroleum has more than 1,000 truck drivers across the country. The TAT training is voluntary, and leaders are encouraged by the interest so far. Nearly 500 Marathon Petroleum employees have been trained to recognize and report human trafficking through the TAT program.
John Miracle was an over-the-road truck driver for 20 years before becoming a transport manager at Marathon Petroleum. He was visibly upset after watching the Truckers Against Trafficking training video in November. He shared with the group of leaders in his training session that he didn’t realize that he had witnessed human trafficking situations in the past and didn’t recognize what it was.
“I remember seeing some of the ‘red flags’ of human trafficking when I was an over-the-road truck driver, but I didn’t recognize them at the time,” said Miracle. “This is really eye-opening and a great opportunity for our drivers to help put a stop to it.”
John Brosnan, a Transport Driver in Niles, Michigan, was one of the first drivers certified through the TAT program at Marathon Petroleum.
“I feel like this is an appropriate responsibility for our fleets, and we’ll definitely be able to make a difference,” said Brosnan. “They’ve given us tools to respond when we see something so proper authorities can respond in time. It doesn’t take people long to move on, so the sooner we can alert authorities, the better.”