Jan. 11 marks National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, a crucial date in the global fight against a grievous violation of human rights. Human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery, involves using force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. This crime disproportionately affects women and children, who often find themselves ensnared due to factors like unstable living situations, poverty, abuse or addiction.
A 2021 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime revealed a harrowing statistic – for every 10 human trafficking victims detected globally, five are women and two are girls. This stark reality underscores the need for heightened awareness and proactive measures.
Recognizing and Responding to the Warning Signs of Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is insidious, often going unnoticed despite happening in plain sight. That’s why recognition is critical. Here are some red flags to look for.
- Physical appearance: Victims may look malnourished, show signs of physical injuries and abuse or lack proper health care, including oral hygiene.
- Behavioral indicators: Avoiding eye contact, social interaction and especially authority figures or law enforcement can be a red flag. Victims might also use scripted or rehearsed responses when talking to others.
- Lack of personal freedom: They may not have appropriate documentation or personal possessions, and often live in their workplaces or locations with high-security measures that seem designed to keep people inside.
- Controlled interaction: Trafficking victims might lack the freedom to enter public spaces alone or speak for themselves. For instance, you may notice a much older man checking into a motel with a girl or woman.
- Labor anomalies: These include working excessively long hours under inappropriate conditions.
- Branding: Some traffickers tattoo or brand their victims with symbols of ownership, often on the neck or lower back.
If you suspect someone may be a human trafficking victim, your compassion and quick thinking can save lives.
- Do not intervene directly: Taking matters into your hands can be dangerous, as traffickers are often part of organized crime networks.
- Report your suspicions: Contact local law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888. You can also text 233733.
- Educate yourself and others: The more people know about human trafficking, the more difficult it becomes for traffickers to operate unseen.
Canyon Crossing’s Commitment
At Canyon Crossing, we support women, many of whom are at higher risk for trafficking due to vulnerabilities like drug addiction and trauma. For National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, we reaffirm our commitment to empowering women, educating our community and providing a haven for those who have endured such exploitation. Let’s join hands to create a world where freedom isn’t a privilege but a right for all. We are here to help you start healing – contact us today to learn more.