Human trafficking is a global issue
Child sex slavery is a rapidly expanding problem in the United States, yet it’s a problem many people don’t want to face up to.
As the problem worsens, reporting on the crimes of sex traffickers is being disrupted by false information being spread online.
UPDATE: A previous version of this story stated that “88% percent of sex-trafficked children” come from the US foster care system. Since publishing, we have re-reviewed the information and found the source of that claim to be unreliable. Therefore, we are unaware of any links between foster care and sex trafficking. We have retracted the original claim and updated our story and title to reflect this.
The sex trafficking industry is fueled by buyers who pay traffickers to supply victims to meet their demand.
Men, women, and children from a wide variety of backgrounds are victimized through sex trafficking.
For more information about sex trafficking, please visit the charity Shared Hope.
If you or someone you know is the victim of human trafficking, please call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or contact your local law enforcement.
Anyone can join in the fight against human trafficking.
Here are 20 ideas from the US State Department to consider acting on in the year 2020:
Learn the indicators of human trafficking on the TIP Office’s website or by taking a training course. Human trafficking awareness training is available for individuals, businesses, first responders, law enforcement, educators, and federal employees, among others.
If you are in the United States and believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or report an emergency to law enforcement by calling 911. Trafficking victims, whether or not U.S. citizens, are eligible for services and immigration assistance.
Be a conscientious and informed consumer. Find out more about who may have picked your tomatoes or made your clothes at ResponsibleSourcingTool.org, or check out the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. Encourage companies to take steps to prevent human trafficking in their supply chains and publish the information, including supplier or factory lists, for consumer awareness.
Volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts in your community.
Meet with and/or write to your local, state, and federal elected officials to let them know you care about combating human trafficking and ask what they are doing to address it.
Be well-informed. Set up a web alert to receive current human trafficking news. Also, check out CNN’s Freedom Project for more stories on the different forms of human trafficking around the world.
Host an awareness-raising event to watch and discuss films about human trafficking. For example, learn how modern slavery exists today; watch an investigative documentary about sex trafficking, or discover how forced labor can affect global food supply chains. Alternatively, contact your local library and ask for assistance in identifying an appropriate book and ask them to host the event.
Organize a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization.
Encourage your local schools or school district to include human trafficking in their curricula and to develop protocols for identifying and reporting a suspected case of human trafficking or responding to a potential victim.
Use your social media platforms to raise awareness about human trafficking, using the following hashtags: #endtrafficking, #freedomfirst.
Think about whether your workplace is trauma-informed and reach out to management or the Human Resources team to urge the implementation of trauma-informed business practices.
Become a mentor to a young person or someone in need. Traffickers often target people who are going through a difficult time or who lack strong support systems. As a mentor, you can be involved in new and positive experiences in that person’s life during a formative time.
Parents and Caregivers: Learn how human traffickers often target and recruit youth and who to turn to for help in potentially dangerous situations. Host community conversations with parent-teacher associations, law enforcement, schools, and community members regarding safeguarding children in your community.
Youth: Learn how to recognize traffickers’ recruitment tactics, how to safely navigate out of suspicious or uncomfortable situations, and how to reach out for help at any time.
Faith-Based Communities: Host awareness events and community forums with anti-trafficking leaders or collectively support a local victim service provider.
Businesses: Provide jobs, internships, skills training, and other opportunities to trafficking survivors. Take steps to investigate and prevent trafficking in your supply chains by consulting the Responsible Sourcing Tool and Comply Chain to develop effective management systems to detect, prevent, and combat human trafficking.
College Students: Take action on your campus. Join or establish a university club to raise awareness about human trafficking and initiate action throughout your local community. Consider doing one of your research papers on a topic concerning human trafficking. Request that human trafficking be included in university curricula.
Health Care Providers: Learn how to identify the indicators of human trafficking and assist victims. With assistance from local anti-trafficking organizations, extend low-cost or free services to human trafficking victims. Resources from the Department of Health and Human Services can be found on their website.
Journalists: The media plays an enormous role in shaping perceptions and guiding the public conversation about human trafficking. Seek out some media best practices on how to effectively and responsibly report stories on human trafficking.
Attorneys: Offer human trafficking victims legal services, including support for those seeking benefits or special immigration status. Resources are available for attorneys representing victims of human trafficking.