Human Trafficking Awareness
By Caitlin Bootsma
It is estimated that there are currently 27 million people enslaved throughout the world.1 This shocking reality is one that we must pay attention to, because it is an important way to effect change.
What is human trafficking? It is forced exploitation of men, women, and children. This exploitation can take the form of prostitution, sex tourism, pornography, forced marriage, sweat-shop work, begging, armed services, and migrant farmers. Many people are ensnared with false promises of payment or other basic needs.
The United States is not an exception to the world of human trafficking. Every one of the 50 states and D.C. have reported instances of human trafficking. Sex trafficking of adults and children takes place in places such as rest stops, brothels, "escort" services, and through online solicitation—and sex trafficking can happen in any community Children are also exploited for labor in many industries from restaurants to agriculture.
What can we do to combat such an immense international crime against human dignity? The first thing we can do is spread awareness and acknowledge that this could be happening within our own community. There are great resources available to help you educate yourself and spread awareness, such as:
- U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking
- National Human Trafficking Hotline
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
We can also share resources in the hopes that someone being trafficked can reach out. One easy way to do this is to post the National Human Trafficking Hotline (Call 1-888-3737-888 or Text "BeFree" 233733) in public places. Another important way to prevent trafficking is to be a reliable support to vulnerable children—mentoring, as a safe adult, can save lives.
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