Human Trafficking sounds like something that doesn’t happen where we live. I used to hear “human trafficking” or “sex trafficking” and my mind instantly created scenarios of these occurrences taking place in other countries. Did you know that the United States is one of the worst countries in the world for trafficking crimes? In 2018, the United States, Mexico and the Philippines were documented by the state department as being the top 3 nations for origins of human trafficking. Although 75% of victims are females, everyone should be knowledgeable about these crimes and everyone should be taking every precaution they can to prevent and identify this heinous crime.
The CRS defines Human Trafficking as “the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion”. Trafficking doesn’t always involve movement or being transported to other countries; there are victims serving these traffickers right in there own home towns. The goal of these criminals is enslavement and exploitation. Human Traffic isn’t limited to sexual exploitation. Victims are forced into marriages, domestic servitude, organ removal and warfare.
Poverty alone doesn’t create vulnerability, like I already mentioned, the United States is one of top 3 countries of trafficking origin. What we can do, individually to help is to spread awareness and learn to identify potential victims and to take safety precautions to protect ourselves from these predators.
Below are signs to help identify victims of human trafficking and safety tips to keep you and your loved ones at less of a risk.
- Signs of Physical abuse like cuts, bruises, and burns
- an overall appearance of being malnourished
- unexplained absences from work and classes
- sexualized behavior
- being withdrawn and antisocial
- being tired all the time
- bragging about having more money
- a change in appearance, dressing differently and wearing a lot of new clothes
- new tattoos that could be branding of some sort, like weird symbols, bar codes, money symbols, etc.
- a new older boyfriend or a new older crowd
- gang affiliation behaviors such as colors, gang symbols etc.
- being uninterested in people or activities that once interested this person
- any evidence of being controlled by another person
- having few or no personal possessions
- lacking a sense of whereabouts
- not speaking for oneself
If you think you’ve come into contact with someone you suspect may be involved in human trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733. They will be able to put you in touch with someone local to reach out to.
Here are some safety tips for you to start to utilize to keep you safe from any crime. Working in Real Estate, I have found myself in situations where my safety could easily be compromised so I am always prepared in anyway I can be and you should be to!