Making a Difference: The T.A.T.E. Initiative – Telecommunications Against Trafficking and Exploitation

Kenny Blakeslee

Posted on December 21, 2020

The fight against human trafficking is a noble and ongoing effort (link to 3SGF article), with 3Strands Global Foundation leading the battle. One of the notable initiatives to combat human trafficking is T.A.T.E. – Telecommunications Against Trafficking and Exploitation. Spearheaded by Kenny Blakeslee, President/CEO, Apex Site Solutions and Pulse Signal & and Co-Chair of the Safer Buildings Coalition Advancement Committee, and 3Strands Global Foundation, the T.A.T.E. initiative will make human trafficking awareness training available across the industry – at no cost. Kenny Blakeslee explains how T.A.T.E. came to be and how the initiative is an opportunity for the telecommunications industry to help make a difference in the quest to identify and end human trafficking.

Kenny Blakeslee: I met Ashlie Brant (3Strands Global Foundation Co-Founder & CEO) and became familiar with 3Strands early in 2020, and we have been finding ways to work together ever since. In late summer she talked to me about training she had provided to a local utility company so that their field workers were educated on how to spot signs of human trafficking and how to report those signs if they saw them. My first thought was that she could train all of our field technicians, but it quickly grew from there.

It dawned on us that the national tower industry has a large workforce which is perfect for this training because they operate in so many areas and situations where they could come across incidents of human trafficking and exploitation. If we could roll out this type of training nationally, we could really make a big difference! Ashlie and I brought our ideas to NATE (a partner organization of Safer Buildings Coalition) and Safer Buildings Coalition. On our introductory call with SBC, (Managing Director) John Foley pointed out that it wasn’t just tower technicians, but the entire telecommunications industry who could contribute to this effort which could widen our reach even further!

Folks like Laurie Caruso (CEO, Safe-Fi Technologies), John Foley, and Jim Tracy and Todd Schleckeway from NATE immediately supported the idea and offered to help any way they could. All of this support inspired and helped us create the T.A.T.E initiative. With T.A.T.E., we are creating training specifically for the telecommunications industry, which can be given to all field employees. This training will focus on how big of a problem human trafficking really is, how to spot signs of it, and how to take action if you see those signs. The real kicker: The action to take is as simple as calling a hotline to report the information. Trained professionals take over from there. There is no risk to the employee or company in taking this action.

This training, thanks to sponsors, will be free to anyone who opts in and is as simple as showing the training videos to field employees. At Apex, we will be including it as part of the safety training we provide to all employees who onboard. 

It is a very simple action to take and can make a big impact! Our vision is that telecommunications companies nationwide will participate and get their employees this very simple training so they too can make a difference. SBC, Laurie Caruso, John Foley,  and many others are helping to provide a platform and megaphones to get the word out about this initiative. We couldn’t appreciate the support more. 

I’m very excited to help our industry take a simple action to make a huge difference. Think about the difference that can be made if we have 100s of thousands of additional eyes and ears who can spot and take action against this crime!

Related Article: How 3Strands Global Foundation Fights the Human Trafficking Menace