Kendis Paris

Ashoka Fellow
United States,
Fellow Since 2013


This profile was prepared when Kendis Paris was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Given that a large proportion of human trafficking “quietly” takes place along the nation’s highways and at truck stops, Kendis resolved to mobilize the US trucking industry as a leader in the modern-day abolitionist movement. Through Truckers Against Trafficking—the organization she co-founded in 2011—Kendis is creating an entirely new role for truckers by targeting them in awareness-building campaigns about the issue; building a clear, safe pathway for them to act when they detect abuse; and using the trucking industry infrastructure as a strategic platform for the movement.

Kendis understands that for this movement to be successful, truckers must be part of the solution. Previous attempts to target this group in the fight against trafficking—though few and far between—assumed truckers were at least partially to blame and used public shaming campaigns to spur behavior change. Recognizing that truckers were largely unaware of the phenomenon of forced-prostitution, let alone that they could do something about it, Kendis is reversing the approach of the past by helping truckers reimagine the positive role their industry can play in tackling the issue. She is strategically targeting the nation’s largest truck stop corporations, trucking companies, trucking schools, and media mavens, while creating bridges with law enforcement and other anti-trafficking initiatives to build out this national movement.

Kendis has rapidly established herself as the authority on trucking and human trafficking in the US. Her approach is beginning to attract international attention. Kendis is also in the early stages of thinking through how Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) might play an instrumental role in ensuring that similar anti-trafficking protocols be implemented across every mode of transportation in the US.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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