There is a hidden and prolific problem in the United States, and it is a humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children are a victim of human trafficking every day. While it is also a global problem, America may have overlooked the underbelly of the problem. Fortunately, many advocates are raising their voices to shed light on this modern-day slavery, to Fight Human Trafficking the right way, and to prevent the country from believing misconceptions about it.
What is Human Trafficking?
It is the practice of transporting people illegally. It uses coercion, fraud, or force to make someone go into commercial sex or forced labor. This crime can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, nationality, community, or race. However, those populations who have little legal or social protection are the most vulnerable and at risk.
Traffickers lure unsuspecting victims into this situation by using manipulation, violence, or false promises. Victims often do not seek help because they are afraid of the traffickers, fearful of law enforcement, and language barriers. All this makes this crime hidden.
With the use of the internet, human trafficking has brought its illegal activities to the web. Now, people are also being sold online. Traffickers know how to look for susceptible individuals, whether due to economic hardship, political instability, psychological vulnerability, or not enough social safety net. Unfortunately, many victims do not ask for help or consider themselves as victims.
One of the first steps of identifying victims is to recognize the indicators of this unlawful act; thus, helping you save a life.
How to Combat It?
Anyone can Fight Human Trafficking. You, too, can join the battle for this slavery. Here are some ways you can do:
Take training for human trafficking awareness and learn its key indicators on the website of the TIP Office.
If you believe someone is a victim, you can call 911 to report to a law enforcement emergency, or contact the National Human Trafficking 24-hour Hotline. The government provides services and immigration assistance for victims of human trafficking, whether a U.S. citizen or not.
Look for anti-trafficking efforts within your city to support and volunteer. You may organize a fundraiser and give the money to the organization.
You can become a mentor to those in need. Human traffickers usually pick out individuals who have no support systems and are going through a tough time.
Learn how these criminals target the vulnerable populations and determine who to call for help in such situations. Consider hosting community conversations regarding safeguarding kids and teens in your community. Do this, together with schools, parent-teacher associations, community members, and law enforcement.
Encourage schools to include awareness of human trafficking in their curriculum and create protocols for responding to victims and reporting these cases.
If you have a business, consider providing skills training, internships, and jobs to survivors of human trafficking. Take initiatives to detect, investigate, and Fight Human Trafficking in the supply chain. Consult with the Responsible Sourcing Tool and Comply Chain for developing correct management systems to combat this modern slavery.
Make it your responsibility to be aware of this global crisis and do something to make a change. The government must continue to implement laws and policies to ensure that those who are complicit in this crime will either stop or face the consequences.