“Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.” – Elie Wiesel
Sex trafficking. Slave-trade. Commercial sexual exploitation. Flesh traffic. Domestic minor sex trafficking. There are many synonyms for the term human trafficking. January was declared as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and we would like to take the opportunity to educate and be a part of raising awareness. It is easy to shy away from disturbing topics, to shrink from evil, and insulate ourselves within our privileged and safe existence. However, as you begin to learn more about human trafficking it quickly becomes clear that this is not just a problem in countries on the other side of the world- it is a scourge taking place in your country. In your city. Maybe even in your neighborhood.
Human trafficking is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as the unlawful act of transporting or coercing people in order to benefit from their work or service, typically in the form of forced labor or sexual exploitation. Some grim statistics from the Polaris organization which operates the United States National Human Trafficking Hotline show how many people are affected by trafficking here in the U.S. (It is important to remember as you look at these numbers that this is not the whole picture as many cases go unreported.) In 2020 their data reflects that 10,583 situations of trafficking were reported, and 16,658 victims of trafficking were identified. Other data of note is that escort services, pornography, and illicit massage, health, and beauty services are the top three types of trafficking respectively. Another key note of their findings dispels the common myth that traffickers are unknown to their victims- most victims know and trust their exploiters.
Education plays an important role in taking action against human trafficking. Both the Polaris Project and the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign have excellent resources on how to identify victims of trafficking as well as information dispelling the misinformation and myths around both child and adult trafficking. Donating and fundraising for Polaris and other organizations in the fight to end human trafficking are another important part of taking action. You may be able to double your impact by encouraging a matching contribution from your employer. Did you know that with every Promise purchase a portion funds Seeds of Hope International in their fight against child sex trafficking? Visit our webpage to learn more about the Promise Love Campaign and Seeds of Hope! Thank you for joining us in our hopes of ending human trafficking and we encourage you to learn more; we are all a part of the solution.
If you are in need of help call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).
To report suspected human trafficking to Federal law enforcement call 1-866-347-2423.
Polaris. Trafficking Trends. https://polarisproject.org/. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
United States Department of Homeland Security. Blue Campaign. https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/about-blue-campaign. Retrieved January 21, 2022.