The Sad Truth Behind Lot Lizards
The Sad Truth Behind Lot Lizards -

The Sad Truth Behind Lot Lizards

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If you’ve been a trucker for some time, you may be familiar with “lot lizards,” but you may not know their harsh realities. Today, we’ll explore what you, as a truck driver, need to know about these people and discuss their direct link to human trafficking in America.

We’ll also talk about ways to be vigilant at truck stops and protect vulnerable people from being forced into this line of work.

Truck stop in the sun

What Truck Drivers Need to Know About Lot Lizards

Unfortunately, people do not always take the underlying issues behind lot lizards seriously. Some people have turned to making jokes or speaking derogatorily about them.

The truth behind these people and how they got into this line of work is sobering.

What are Lot Lizards?

The term “lot lizards” refers to prostituted people who work in truck stops and rest areas. Truck stop prostitution occurs most commonly at night but can also happen during the day.

Prostituted men and women are often victims of sex crimes. Sex traffickers coerce their victims into prostitution through promises, threats, violence, and/or abduction and drugging. They are forced to offer sexual services to truck drivers by reaching out over CB radios or going from truck to truck.

Lot Lizards: Not What, But Who

It’s important to remember that “lot lizards” are people first. Many victims are young and vulnerable, being lured into sex work while dealing with drug addiction, homelessness, or poverty.

They often feel they have no control over their life or escape outside of truck stop prostitution. The harsh reality about these sex workers is that many are victims of modern-day slavery or trafficking.

The Horrors of Human Trafficking  

Victim of human trafficking

Prostitution is illegal and often a direct result of human trafficking.

Traffickers lure young men and women into truck stop prostitution through promises of money, or threats of violence to the victim or their families or friends, direct physical abuse, fraud, or drugging.

These victims are not sex workers. Unlike sex workers in the sex industry, trafficking victims have no control.

In America, 4.8 million people are victims of sex trafficking, and 71% of human trafficking victims are women and girls.

While most victims are women and girls, truck-stop prostitution can also affect men. These alarming statistics do not touch on the horrors and despair that human trafficking victims experience in their everyday lives.

Sex trafficking victims face horrifying health conditions. Many victims of truck stop prostitution live in unhygienic conditions and receive no medical care. They are subject to sexually transmitted infections and diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 5 people in the U.S. has an STI or STD, totaling 68 million infections.

These physical health conditions, paired with the grueling mental health conditions of sex trafficking victims, can dehumanize a person and make them feel hopeless.

Beth Jacobs: Trucking Prostitution Survivor

Beth Jacobs is a sex trafficking survivor who shared her personal heart-wrenching trafficking story with us at In her interview, she advises how truck drivers can help victims like her.

She also gives important insight regarding victims trafficked by people they know or even trust.

How It Began

Beth Jacobs was just a 16-year-old girl when she was prostituted. Living in Minneapolis, Jacobs frequented a downtown bus station next to a bar.

One day, a man outside the bar coerced her to come inside and play pool with him and his friends. After this first occasion, Jacobs frequently visited the pool hall, which often served her alcohol underage.

After missing her bus one weekend, she asked one of the men she had befriended at the bar to give her a ride home. Once they were in the car, the man drugged Jacobs and drove her six hours away to Chicago.

When Jacobs woke up, the man told her he was a pimp. He beat her and forced her to sleep with a waiting truck driver. After this, Jacobs endured brutal beatings, forced prostitution, and a life of terror for six more years.

Hopeless and Helpless

When Jacobs was abducted, beaten, and forced into prostitution, she felt she had no escape. Her pimp threatened to kill her if she ever tried to ask for help. He took away everything that was hers, frequently beating and drugging her.

At one point, Jacobs escaped her first pimp and chose another. She says this escape and subsequent re-prostituting are the only reason she survived.

She felt utterly alone, unwanted, and humiliated during this time. She was let down by the people she thought should be able to help her.

Jacobs described a woman who would come to pray for the girls. This woman took no action to help the girls, instead frequently shaming them. Even the police, who she expected to save her, offered her no escape.

Jacobs escaped her pimp after going to jail for a warrant. When she was released, she told another prostituted girl that she was going out to make money for their pimp and was able to flee to a nearby hotel.

After this escape, Jacobs began prostituting herself to pay hotel fees and make money. Her trafficker had told her that she was ruined and that no one would ever want her, so she felt that she had to offer sexual services to have someone love her.

Beauty from Ashes

It took Jacobs a long time to come to terms with what had happened to her and to heal. After she escaped prostitution, she got her B. S. Social Work degree so she could help other sex trafficking victims like herself.

In the interview with, Jacobs detailed countless times over those 6 years when bystanders could have helped her but did not know how.

Now a Field Trainer with the group Truckers Against Trafficking, she works full-time helping victims of trafficking and educating the public about this issue. She advises truckers and those who frequent truck stops to remain vigilant and stay educated so they can help victims of prostitution.

Hear Jacobs tell her full story:

Being an Anti-Trafficking Advocate

Truck stop at sun down is firmly against truck stop prostitution and recognizes the horrifying realities associated with lot lizards. We encourage all truck drivers to watch out for and report incidences of human trafficking activity at truck stops.

Truckers Against Trafficking is an excellent resource that truckers can use to learn more about human trafficking in the trucking industry and how to be an advocate against trafficking.

Warning Signs of Human Trafficking at Truck Stops

According to Truckers Against Trafficking, there are red flags that a trucker can be alert for that may indicate human trafficking activity.

These include:

  • Individuals having a lack of knowledge of their whereabouts
  • Individuals with restricted or controlled communication
  • Drivers flashing headlights at truck stops
  • Individuals mentioning a pimp or quota
  • A van or RV dropping off and picking up individuals at truck stops
  • An unusual car waiting at a truck stop
  • Individuals without access to their identification or money
  • CB radio interactions referencing “commercial company”
  • Individuals with branding or tattooing often of the trafficker’s name

If you see any warning signs, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at tel:888-373-7888 and report a tip. If you witness a crime while it is in action, call 911 immediately.

If you are at a truck stop or any other place of business, you should also inform the business manager on duty of the activity so that they can take proper action. Do not approach traffickers.

Once you make a report, you should wait for local police officers to handle the situation and recover the victims. As truck drivers, you are the eyes and ears of the road.

By keeping a vigilant watch at truck stops and parking lots, truck drivers can end truck-stop prostitution. Truck stop owners can contribute to the fight against truck stop prostitution.

They can post informative signs about traffickers and prostitution, have a night security guard or parking lot patrol, and limit rest area usage to truckers only.

The Language We Use Matters

Being an anti-trafficking advocate involves the language you use when discussing victims. Truckers Against Trafficking describes a series of words you should not use when referencing victims, including:

  • Prostitute
  • Lot lizard
  • Truck stop hookers
  • Sex workers
  • Rescue

Victims of sex trafficking are forced into prostitution. Therefore it is crucial to refer to them as prostituted people rather than prostitutes. Beth Jacobs, the former prostituted person in the interview above, described how identifying with the verb “prostituted” rather than the noun “prostitute” reflected the gravity of her situation.

Engaging in open conversation about sensitive topics like truck stop prostitution is essential. Talking about issues such as these helps to raise awareness and educate others on how to respond to the problem.

With this, it is crucial not to precipitate any stigma or negative talk surrounding the issue through insensitive language. used the term “lot lizards” in this article to educate and explain the term to those unfamiliar with the larger issue, but does not recommend using this term elsewhere.

Dangers for Truckers

It is important to remember that truck stop prostitution victims face pressure to meet a certain quota from their trafficker. Because of this, some prostituted people at truck stops may try to approach your truck even if you do not invite them.

In such instances, remain parked in your truck with locked doors and call the human trafficking hotline.

While it is important to stay alert for signs of human trafficking, it is still your job to ensure your safety. As mentioned earlier, do not approach traffickers or leave your truck unattended.

Call the police to help rescue a victim without putting yourself in danger.

Trafficking Resources for Truckers

Line of trucks in parking lot

As a truck driver, you can use various helpful resources to stay up to date on trafficking information and prevention and continue educating yourself on the issues.

Some prevention resources you can consult include the Department of Homeland Security or the Polaris Project, organizations established to end trafficking and prostitution at truck stops.

One media resource you can access is the film Lot Lizard (2016, Alexander Perlman), a documentary outlining the realities of sex trafficking in trucking. The film aims to shed light on the horrors that victims face daily and remind viewers that these victims are just as human as the rest of us.

Other web resources you can access for information and anti-trafficking content include:






Author: Carly Miller

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  1. What about the female truck stop employee’s that”date” drivers? I think thats pretty common as well.

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    • I’ve been in the trucking industry for over 20 years yes it was quite bad in the 90s but now most of it is gone you hardly even see them anymore

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      • Really? That’s good to know, right?

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        • I trusted my boyfriend who was manipulating, claimed we were working for a future, while he’d drive, “train me”( “we were going to be this team”),wasnt serious, I got slowly depressed, discouraged. He was mentally, emotionally, abusive, physical at the start, but that stopped, he was more worried of getting caught. Then care.. too, and never saw what he made…never anything stable, no plan, all over the place,and ilearned how many red flags, he was a lying cheat,the character changes, the picked fights to get rid of me, for short timed( hed mysteriously ” dissappear” or I’d sleep, or take a shower during time we could..or even clean the truck to make it comfortable,he was acting as though teaching me ” safety” ” testing lights,”.. I just realized, times he would make up excuses, pick fight, to “” use bathroom” I didn’t realize, and times wouldnt go near me, made me feel unloved, unwanted,ugly and did say this too…other times acted as though he wanted to physically..b around me, and so much more, I believe. Was happening, times I wasn’t with him, and with him. What a living hell to believe a person cares, loves, or want to believe that noone would, or could be that cruel , to opposite,feeling, or being completly alone, ( and I was stuck out there w him, and I’d disappear mentally to cope. Found porn on truck computer, I had so many reasons,..and my gut was distrusting him , so much….I’m still seeing him here and there, so discouraged, and know this is not love, I think he wants to know I’m on burner too, i kinda feel same, i got that depressed, down, ruined goals i had, and have absolutely no interest in them now, but on a positive, im thankful im in a my own….I pay ,for..apt….thank GOD!! Just starting to find joy in simply eating, rest,reading, I couldnt focus before, couldnt ever sleep, eat, some days, nights, it was hell.walking.i love I used too…and I’m so glad I am glad he went, and I stayed back, never want to go through that again,it had been in my blood, had it been a decent sincere person to work together…I trusted, itd been so different, and had done very well…I believe. I’m getting there, he was rude from the very start, with woman better at hiding it now, probably because unlike I used to b, speaking up, I t built up, and I let him know it. It was embarrassing just eating g going anywhere, hed ogle eyes anyone who would feed him, even other men’s wives!! This was no normal looking, he was rude, didnt care. I’m sad, no I’m missing something that mostly made me very unhappy, sad painful, feels going nowhere, , that became habit…I am working learning to deal a day at a time now, it’s working. I have such a need to break down, and cry, it comes here and there, good days, and bad, getting better than it was…he even cracks jokes at these things or will deny, ignore, or turn them in some way in me, he did from start.i have never been one to be bitter, avoid others, and changed, so much, but wont give him that, it won’t stay this way. I been through enough long ago, and life was good, with my son who ended up moving out, I never forgave myself, ect…I better stop getting very upset, and off track..I didnt realize I believe he had been doing these things w girls all along, even…when I was there!! I’m angry at myself, at times..I am all for these awesome hardworking truckers against trafficking! and my boyfriend would be annoyed if I mentioned this..its a great thing, I support!!

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  2. My husband just called me about one asking if he was married. She/he tried opening his door and he grabbed the handle and slammed and locked it. Twenty minutes later another knock on door. He contacted store and store says they will have police come out in unmarked car. Its sickening how these people stoop themselves this low.

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    • What state was this in? I hear about all kinds of stories

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  3. I have a friend who meets women online who are also lot lizards. They look.for company on craigslist and other dating sites. They pose as just looking to hook up, dating. … well this man kept hooking up with the same women, come to find out she had HIV and cuts on her tongue. He used condoms, but when they were done her piercing ripped the condom. You just never know what is going to happen. If you are married, stay Faithful! If you are bored, lonely and just looking make sure you know what you are getting into. Sad sad world.

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    • If you’re married you don’t need to be cheating on your wife anyway. Get her on the truck if possible its to dangerous having prostitutes out at these truck stops. Its bad enough if you’re in a relationship with someone you can’t trust.

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  4. Lot Lizards are the BEST!!! Great people. Wonderful service. I wish they had a Yelp page…

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      • If a trucker receives calls from a number like this 0000-008-8811 would it be for sex services.

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        • No ma’am that’s a telemarketer and that are annoying.

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  5. I have had two knock on my door. One at Flying J in Tulsa OK. and one at Loves in San Antonio TX.

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  6. Personally, I think this is an important subject to tackle and a discussion worth having. So I decided to jump in and give a slightly different perspective than some of the usual ideas many have about Lot Lizards. Being a young male who has often spent time with other males who are on the road truckers, talking with them, occasionally riding with them, and “servicing their needs” I have gained some first hand knowledge of the inherent risks and troubles associated with “Lot Lizards.” I can only speak for myself though. I spend a lot of time at rest stops and in the cabs of semi’s because I truly enjoy it. No one forces me. I don’t work for anyone in that way. I don’t do it for money nor for drugs. I also would never ever harm anyone or steal from them. I have no communicable diseases and am very proactive about being checked on a regular basis. I owe that to myself and others because I am very sexually active. I realize that most overnight and momentary friends of truckers fit the descriptions given in the above peice but I just wanted to remind all you guys out there and everyone else that there are some of us who are just having fun. Meeting an ongoing and obvious need or at the least a want of many drivers out there. Not making it out to be something serious but always trying to keep the activitiy helpful and lighthearted. One of the reasons I even began this night time and occasional daytime journey of rest areas, off ramps, and truck stops was because I grew up in the late 90’s in a small town in the south where being gay was something to be kept secret. There was no real nightlife so to speak of at least not for guys interested in guys so looking for pleasure and company became an act of sneaking around. By chance one night I was out for a drive on a stretch of interstate and a trucker managed to get my attention and I got his too and what happened on a dark deserted off ramp in middle of nowhere Tennessee was a very fun time with a very nice and very appreciative guy. It all seemed so easy as well as exciting and a whole new world was opened up to me. I didn’t seek out this type of behavior. Instead it found it’s way to me by way of blinking headlights, the sound of a horn, and eventually an open door to the rig which aroused a mouthwatering curiosity in me. Now, on a regular basis, I look forward to all my guys who come through the area and they look forward to seeing me. It breaks up the monoteny of their long road trips. I also constantly get to meet new firends. Some just for a little while and others becoming long time buddies. Things are slowly changing though. These days with camaras everywhere, and tracking on rigs, and in an effort to make things safer, a more aggressive approach from law enforcement, rendevous such as this are becoming more difficult. In some ways that may be a good thing. I for one though like what I do and would hate to see it be completely eradicated. I dare say there are many truckers who feel the same. In the meantime I continue to go out cruising around making sure I’m being seen and having fun. That’s what it’s all about. No drugs. No drama. Just milking some good times out of the night. Be careful out there everyone. Have fun and remember to thank a trucker.

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  7. Let’s make known the dangers of “lot lizards,” but let’s also be clear that these people are still human beings. Let’s not dehumanize their existence, just because some may pose a nuisance and hazard. Some of these folks are forced into the matter, and most are in it for the wrong reasons. Be aware and keep yourselves safe, but be mindful that these are human beings we’re talking about. Not mere “lizards..”

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    • I know, right? Routinely it is the [female] prostitutes who are reviled and dehumanized, while the john is sympathetically described as “lonely” or whatever. This depiction conveniently forgets that being a prostitute is the most dangerous job in the world. The average age of a girl entering this profession is 12 years old. That means there are conceivably millions of men willing to have sex with a child. They don’t seem to care that she’s just a little girl. No sympathy, as long as he gets his rocks off. Just disgusting.

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  8. Sex work is a valuable service, and all the negative aspects are mainly due to our outdated puritanical laws making it illegal. If it were legalized the mega
    Give aspects would virtually disappear.

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  9. Or how about marrying a faithful man and stop blaming the lizards, they dont know your husband is married

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  10. That scene was happening in the 1970s up to the early 1990s. Its fallen off considerably since the age of the internet and the awareness by law enforcement. Its largely a thing of the past.

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  11. Or married men could learn the word “no.” It takes two.

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  12. I’m impressed with this article and with the thoughtful comments. short article that addresses many topics. thank you for talking about human trafficking and the signs to look for. great article!

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  13. I used to make good money working the Phillips 66 stop in Texarkana back in the 70s and 80s. Back then, you know who your customers were because they were regulars., This article says 80 for the full Monte but I remember 100 as the minimum. For regulars, maybe 75.00. Christmas time meant real good money. I do remember that. In the 90s, everything changed. Either I got old or the men just got more grabby and demanding.

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  14. Some of these men are not giving money no more they are just using not right

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  15. New to truck driving. Been in it for about 7 months now. A lot lizard made an attempt on me just yesterday. They aren’t at big truck stops but smaller ones. I was parked blocking another truck. I figured he was knocking to ask me to let him out, but it was a lady holding a coffee and cellphone and asked if I had money to help her get home. I said I don’t, then she said ill work for it if I have to because I am stranded here. I checked my mirrors since I was in a small truck stop and it was a bit sketchy. I thought it was best to end it quickly so I said I can’t do anything for you, sorry.

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  16. Just remember what Ray Lawrence Jr told us…”lot lizards don’t love you”

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  17. Prostitution is around and always will be. Where it takes place doesn’t matter. You can spin it for good or spin it for bad. I personally think it should be legalized. This is truth, no spin. There is good that comes out of it. Most hookers are not bad people. Most attorneys are not bad people. Most politicians are not bad people. Get the point

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    • most prostitutes are not bad people. most attorneys are bad people. most politicians are attorneys and also very bad people.

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  1. Relationships on the Road: Dating a Truck Driver - […] truck stop prostitution. I mean there’s a documentary about it, and we even wrote about “lot lizards” last July.…

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