Honoring Human Trafficking Prevention Month and Human Trafficking Awareness Day
Updated: Jan 4
With January being National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and January 11, being National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, this is a perfect time to become more aware of what you and I can do to help end these horrifically dehumanizing crimes.
Image of woman with 2 hands protecting face generated by DALL-E from OpenAI
Awareness of Human Trafficking is Growing
On December 30 2011 then President Barrack Obama issued a statement saying,
“Human trafficking endangers the lives of millions of people around the world, and it is a crime that knows no borders. Trafficking networks operate both domestically and transnationally, and although abuses disproportionally affect women and girls, the victims of this ongoing global tragedy are men, women, and children of all ages.”
He followed up with the 2012 executive order, ‘Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts”. In 2016, the first convening of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking took place followed by the U.S. Department of State initiating a massive anti-trafficking program.
The U.S. Federal Government has created a variety of anti-trafficking resources including the National Human Trafficking Hotline. You’ll find details about the Hotline and other initiatives in the Resource section below.
What is Human Trafficking?
What criminal activity constitutes human trafficking? According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “Blue Campaign” website (see the Resource section below), human trafficking:
“… involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use the following methods to lure victims into trafficking situations:
False promises of well-paying jobs
According to the DHS,
“Traffickers look for people who are easy targets for a variety of reasons, including:
Psychological or emotional vulnerability
Lack of a social safety net
“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.”
Human trafficking is big business. *Experts estimate it generates about $150 billion annually world-wide, with nearly $100 billion of that money from sex trafficking.
Children and Young People are Targets of Human Trafficking Criminals
It’s also vital to know criminals are constantly engaging young people online promising friendship, emotional support, romance, money, and other enticements to encourage their young targets to meet them in person.
Sadly, too many young people, females and males, fall victim to these overtures and end up being kidnapped or lured away from home. In a matter of days, these children are put to work as prostitutes.
*Experts estimate globally about two million children are exploited annually. A few manage to escape, but many never do. These young people may be murdered if criminals no longer see them as useful.
How You Can Help Stop Human Trafficking
Here are some simple steps you can take to help stop human trafficking:
- Learn about human trafficking. You can begin with the resources linked below, but there are reports, organizations, and online resources available online.
- Become aware of the SOS hand signal indicating someone needs help. See the Resource section below.
- Volunteer with credible organizations and support nonprofits who are helping survivors directly. Two reputable nonprofit rating resources are Charity Navigator and Guidestar. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau for the area where a nonprofit is located. If you live outside the United States, check similar resources for your country before donating money.
- When posting on social media, use supporting anti-trafficking hashtags. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security suggests using #WearBlueDay for January 11. For Instagram, Tweeter, and other social media sites, there is a resource that offers a list of hashtags that have been used in support of Human Trafficking Prevention Month and day. That site is listed in the Resource section.
- If you see situations that cause you to suspect someone is being trafficked, report that information immediately. You may be saving a life and helping prevent others from becoming ensnared in the human trafficking web.
Let’s All Do Our Part…
The sad fact is human trafficking is happening every day in every community - yes, even in your community. If you don't believe me, talk with your local police department and ask them what human trafficking activities are happening in your area.
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month during January and Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11 are important opportunities to raise awareness about this critical issue and take action to stop them.
By educating ourselves and supporting efforts to combat human trafficking, we can work to create a world in which all people are free and treated with dignity and respect.
Resources to Stop Human Trafficking
National Human Trafficking Hotline in the U.S.
1 (888) 373-7888
SMS: 233733 (Text "HELP" or "INFO")
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Languages: English, Spanish and 200 more languages
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Human Trafficking Website: https://www.dhs.gov/topics/human-trafficking
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign website with emergency contact information in English and Spanish: https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign
Hand Signal Indicating Someone Needs Help:
Two resources to check validity of nonprofit organizations in the U.S.: Charity Navigator: https://www.charitynavigator.org; and, Guidestar: https://www.guidestar.org.
List of hashtags used in support of human trafficking awareness and prevention: https://displaypurposes.com/hashtags/hashtag/humantrafficking
* $99 billion estimated annual revenue from human sex trafficking: https://caclapeer.org/human-trafficking-the-internet/
Stephen Carter is a longtime FREA volunteer. He's a former Chief of Police, a former Security Director for one of the world's largest financial services company, and founder of Stress Solutions, LLC, now Stress Solutions USA. He hosts the "EFT Tapping Junction" and other stress releasing podcasts, all available at https://StressReliefRadio.com. He can be reached by email at CarterMethod@gmail.com.