Friday, January 8, 2016

January Brings Awareness to Human Trafficking

During the month of January, various local and national agencies will be bringing awareness to the horrible crime of human trafficking. In today’s world, there is still a form of slavery where women, men and children from around the world are being forced against their will to perform labor, domestic servitude or get involved in sex trade. People think if they don’t see it then it isn’t happening, but unfortunately, human trafficking is a very serious crime that happens all over the United States.

It is estimated that billions of dollars are profited from human trafficking. It is because of this modern day slavery that bringing awareness to human trafficking is so critical. It is also important that we give a voice to those who have suffered at the hands of human traffickers. Many times victims will not come forward for help because of language barriers as well as fear of the trafficker or even law enforcement.

These traffickers use many methods to lure their victims including force, fraud and coercion. Once they have their victims, they force them into labor or sexual exploitation. Traffickers usually prey on those who might have psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardships, and/or political instability. Victims usually suffer severe trauma and can sometimes be unable to identify themselves or are too scared to ask for help.  

The Department of Homeland Security is now in its fifth year of the Blue Campaign. This is a national effort to combat human trafficking as well as protect the basic rights of freedom while bringing those who abuse others to justice. For more information on the Blue Campaign please visit here:

What can you do to help?

Do not ever attempt to confront a suspected trafficker or alert a victim to your suspicions. This is for your safety and the safety of the victim. Please call 9-1-1 (in the event that it is an emergency) for help or contact local authorities. You can also contact these tip lines directly:

•Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) to report suspicious criminal activity to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tip Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. The Tip Line is accessible outside the United States by calling 802-872-6199.

•Submit a tip at  Highly trained specialists take reports from both the public and law enforcement agencies on more than 400 laws enforced by ICE HSI, including those related to human trafficking.

•To get help from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).