Ballard Trucking driver Arian Taylor from Nicholasville, Ky., has been named the 2018 Harriet Tubman award winner by Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) for helping a woman escape from an attempt to forcibly sex-traffick her.
In January of this year, Taylor pulled into a California business to make a delivery at 3:30 a.m. Shortly thereafter, he received a knock on his cab door from a 19-year-old woman. He learned from her that her friend’s older boyfriend was trying to force her into prostitution. After she had refused and argued with him, he dumped her in the parking lot and sped off. She was cold, exhausted, had no money or identification, was carrying everything she owned in her arms and was desperate to get back home to a neighboring state. Taylor assured he would help.
After getting her warm and giving her water to drink, he looked at one of the two TAT stickers prominently displayed on his windows (which the victim had been eye-level with when she knocked on his door) and called the National Human Trafficking Hotline. They worked with him to secure the woman shelter for the night, a pre-paid cab ride to get her to that shelter and a chaperoned train ride back to her home the next day, where she was reunited with a family member.
Taylor took care of the young woman until she was placed in the cab, and even gave her his personal cell phone number in case she needed anything else.
“Freedom is a privilege that every human being should have,” Taylor says, “and being identified with a freedom fighter like Harriet Tubman has totally enriched my life to keep that fight alive at all costs.”
The award, which carries with it a $2,500 check, is named in honor of famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman, whose courageous personal actions resulted in the transportation of 300 slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad and whose overall role in the freedom movement was instrumental in the freeing of thousands more. Born into slavery in 1820, Miss Tubman was the first African-American woman buried with full military honors and the first to have the inaugural Liberty ship named after her – the SS Harriet Tubman – by the US Maritime Commission.
“Because of Harriet Tubman’s connection to transportation through the Underground Railroad and her heroic work to free thousands of slaves, TAT believes she embodies the symbol of freedom a trucking anti-trafficking award represents,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director.
Taylor will receive the Harriet Tubman Award and check from Paris at the Protective Insurance Protective 500 Event in Indianapolis, Ind., on May 26. Protective Insurance partners with TAT.