Human trafficking is global. We have talked stats, numbers, and reality. It’s an overwhelming problem in the United States and in the world. That’s a lot to take one. So how can I, you, and everyone else possibly make a difference? It’s really easy to feel consumed by the daunting reality of tragic global dilemmas. Things like drugs, abuse, rape, slavery, and so on, aren’t easy to solve and they are very gray issues, especially in the political world.
One of the most important ways to prevent/reduce human trafficking is through education. This sometimes seems a little bland to us. It’s missing the flavor of action of busting down doors, partaking in an arrest, and impersonating a pimp in order to rescue people. However, I would say that this is one of the most vital and valuable parts of prevention. Educate yourself on the signs of human trafficking. Look for the signs of runaway children and bring them to help before they can be targeted. Be aware of people at gas stations, airports, hotels, and other crowded areas for transportation; these are the places where humans are often exchanged.
In addition there are some common red flags to be aware of. A few examples are people living with their employer, living in poor living conditions, incapability of speaking with someone one-on-one, showing signs of abuse, is unpaid or paid very little, and is 18 and involved in prostitution (U.S Dept. of State). Familiarize yourself with these and use these as tools to help prevent human trafficking, or help someone in a trafficking situation.
However, that being said it is important to know that you aren’t a professional. There are people who are trained to handle these types of situations. Police officers, law enforcers, federal government employees, and psychologists are thoroughly educated on how to handle these delicate and dangerous circumstances (U.S Dept. of State). Therefore, it is important to be the hero in a different way than many of us want to be. It is imperative that when you see something you think may be human trafficking, that you report it immediately. If it wasn’t for the bystander, the professionals wouldn’t be able to do much.
That being said. There are a few resources that are important to make a change. One of the easiest/most convenient resources is by calling the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 (U.S Dept. of State). This is a resource is available 24/7 where you are able to speak to a service provider in your area about a potential human trafficking case (U.S Dept. of State). Also, you can call this number and speak to a technical assistant for more information. In addition, you can call the Department of Homeland Security at 1-866-347-2423 (24/7), or submit a tip online at www.ice.gov/tips. Plus even immigrants are eligible for government help.
The list can go on and on, and I actually will continue on this for my next blog. Education is power, and this is only one facet of that power. That is the entirety of these blogs, it’s to educate. Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know much or was misled in your information, embrace this as a learning opportunity to become a super hero, because by being educated you can help so many people.