January is human trafficking prevention month. In order to prevent something, we have to understand what it is. According to the DOJ, “human trafficking is a crime that involves exploiting a person for labor, services, or commercial sex.” Human trafficking is one of the most pressing global issues. In the United States alone, it is considered one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises. Over the course of the next four weeks Operation Beautiful Nation will be raising awareness for modern day slavery. Human trafficking needs to end and it can’t without your help.
Here’s what you need to know: There are over 21 million people around the world who are trafficked. Of those, 5.5 million are children. 1.5 million people are trafficked in the United States. Human trafficking profits $32 billion dollars, globally.
How does human trafficking actually happen?
“Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation” Traffickers look for people “for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings” writes Homeland Security.
Sexual Exploitation (Sex Trafficking) occurs when someone forces another individual to perform sexual acts against their will and abducting them from their homes/ lives. Oftentimes an individual is coerced into being trafficked by false promises such as: payment, drugs, shelter, food, a community, etc.
Labour Exploitation/ Trafficking is a form of trafficking focused on one goal: labour, in which individuals are forced to perform services. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, “labor traffickers use violence, threats, lies, and other forms of coercion to force people to work against their will in many industries.”
Homeland Security says people have difficulty escaping trafficking because “of language barriers, fear of the traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement.” Here is a great resource to learn about a few “myths and misconceptions” of human trafficking.
Know the signs:
Large age gap between male & female
Appearing unhealthy, malnourished, injured, scared or abused
Avoiding eye contact, touch and social interaction
Lack of possessions and official ID/ documentations
Visible tattoos or branding on the neck/ back
If you see these signs, please call: (888)-373-7888 or visit humantrafficking.org
It is important not to confront someone you think is a victim or trafficker. By doing so, you put that victim and other’s lives in danger.
Next week we will be talking more in depth about how to recognize human trafficking.
Thumbnail Photo: Front News International