"Oh yeah. I've seen 'em. Lot Lizards. ......., Ohio is really well known for them. You'd get close to a truck stop and you'd hear 'Commercial Company, Channel 2.' That was code for "You want sex at the next truck stop? It's available."
Truck stop prostitutes, also known as lot lizards, are a frequent sight while a trucker crosses our beautiful America. I listened as this trucker rattled off many of the truck stops in Pennsylvania and Ohio he had frequented and seen women soliciting sex. D...., A......, Y.......... These are NOT big cities. They are truck stops in communities of 41,000 to 82,000. Need a reference point? Chicago has a population of 2.7 million.
........., Ohio? Population 8,000.This town is barely on the map, yet it is a hot spot for commercial sex in the trucking industry.
"You'll be at a truck stop and see a car full of girls show up - 6 or more in a car with a CB antennae on top. They get out and move from truck to truck. Lots of times they'll stand at the back of your truck, radio you and ask if you want sex. If you do you're supposed to flash your tail lights at them, turn off your dome light and let them in."
Disgusted by the behavior, when approached, my trucker friend would roll his window down an inch and tell them to get out of there or he'd call the cops. I tell him he's seeing trafficking in action.
He couldn't believe it when I told him that minor girls, threatened with their very lives, could have been the ones approaching him for sex. To him, it seemed to start to sink in as he described what he had seen. One woman going into a truck stop many times during the course of the night, apparently showering "between trucks". A girl cleaning herself in a mud puddle "between trucks". He couldn't tell me if he'd ever seen a minor.
"It's hard to tell how old they are. They only do this when its dark."
He had no idea that 1,000 Ohio born youth and another 740 foreign born youth are forced into the sex trade in Ohio every year. Those are 2009 statistics.* So, if you're just counting the last two years, that's 3,400 youth spread out across Ohio who have been trafficked. And truck stops seem to be popular place to find "work".
"I had no idea. What can I do to get this to stop?"
These girls need help. They need someone who is willing to rescue them, pay attention to them, fight with them and help them to recuperate from the horrors of trafficking. Someplace where they can be treated with dignity and respect and not viewed as a "lot lizard".
How many shelters exist in Ohio to help these girls?
Let's get one in there. Gracehaven House, based out of Columbus, Ohio is working hard to protect these girls. Go here to donate to their efforts in establishing the Ohio's first human trafficking shelter.
**Image taken from newson6.com.
**We have been receiving significant traffic for this post in the last few months. Unfortunately, not all the traffic has been for noble or dignified purposes. For this reason, we have removed the names of the towns originally reported in order to help protect the girls we are trying to advocate for. (1/8/13)