January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. This month’s Aftercare newsletter will take a step back from our Aftercare program in Haiti, and offer a global perspective on why it is important to raise awareness about human trafficking, and how you can make a difference in the worldwide effort to end human trafficking and modern day slavery.
NATIONAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING PREVENTION MONTH
In 2011, January was declared National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month by Presidential Proclamation. Every year since then, organizations and local governments have joined the federal government in using this month to raise awareness about human trafficking prevention, and the role that each of us plays in ending all forms of slavery (Human Trafficking Search).
“Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human traffickers generate hundreds of billions of dollars in profits by trapping millions of people in horrific situations around the world, including here in the U.S. Traffickers use violence, threats, deception, debt bondage, and other manipulative tactics to force people to engage in commercial sex or to provide labor or services against their will.” – The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
While many government organizations and non-governmental organization are in the fight to end human trafficking year-long, January provides us a special opportunity to focus on awareness and education about modern day slavery and human trafficking both in the United States and across the word. Did you know…
- Human trafficking refers to the exploitation of individuals through threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, and/or deception
- Specific types of exploitation are forced labor, debt bondage, domestic servitude, forced marriage, sex trafficking, child sex trafficking, and the recruitment and use of child soldiers
- 40 million people annually are affected by human trafficking globally (International Labor Organization)
- 24.9 million people in forced labor
- 16 million in private sector exploitation
- 15.4 million in forced marriage
- 4 million in state-sanctioned forced labor
- 4.8 million in sex trafficking
- While human trafficking spans all demographics, trafficked persons most often come from positions of vulnerability, including
- Having a low socio-economic background
- Having been a political, cultural, or ethnic minority
- Having been an immigrant
- Having a history of sexual abuse, rape, or domestic violence
- Having been in foster care
- Having been subject to natural disasters, conflict, or political turmoil
*All statistics above came from Human Trafficking Search.
Take a look at the next section to see how YOU can make a difference in the fight to end human trafficking.
HOW YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
One of the number one ways that you can help in the fight against human trafficking is to be aware of the indicators of trafficking. Read the following list, and if you recognize any of these signs, please call 1-888-373-7888 to report a situation to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
According to research by Human Trafficking Search, a person may be trafficked if they:
- Cannot leave their work environment or cannot quit to find another job
- Do not have control over their wages, money, or finances
- Show signs of physical abuse or injury
- Are accompanied everywhere by someone who speaks for them or allows others to speak for them when addressed directly
- Appear to be fearful of or under the control of another person
- Have health issues that have not been attended to
- Owe money to an employer or another person whom they feel bound to repay
- Describe moving or changing jobs suddenly and often
- Are unfamiliar with the neighborhood where they live or work
- Are not working in the job originally promised to them
- Are traveling with minimal or inappropriate luggage/belongings
- Lack identification, passport or other travel documents or do not have control over their documentation
- Provide sexual services in a strip club, massage parlor, brothel or other locations and have a manager or pimp
- Are a laborer, domestic servant or caretaker but never leave the home or workplace
- Are unable to freely contact friends or family
- Are not allowed to socialize or attend religious services
- Have restricted freedom of movement
- Are a juvenile engaged in a commercial sex act
- Are threatened or afraid of being handed over to the authorities
- Are forced to work under certain conditions
- Work excessively long hours over long period
You can find a more comprehensive list of indicators in the UN’s Office of Drugs and Crime publication Human Trafficking Indicators.
Other ways you can take action and make a difference:
- Volunteer with a human trafficking prevention organization in your area. Check out End Slavery Now’s “Connect” Directory to search for organizations in your area.
- Engage in responsible business conduct by becoming educated about which companies create products through forced labor. My Slavery Footprint is one tool you can use to find out how the products you regularly purchase are made.
- Raise awareness by sharing what you are learning about human trafficking. You can start by visiting Human Trafficking Search’s Learn page, or reading the US State Department’s 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report.
OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP
- Darkness to be exposed into the light; for girls to be freed
- An increase in the capacity of Haiti’s government authorities to safeguard the welfare of vulnerable and exploited children. Two specific governmental organizations to pray for in this are IBESR (Child Welfare) and BPM (Brigade for the Protection of Minors)
- Haiti’s Investigative Units, which are responsible for deciding which leads to follow in conducting investigations into human trafficking
- That the right people will be in the right positions, not only in the rescue organization, the local authorities, but also at Hands and Feet Project
- For resources to be available when they are needed
Guidance for the Hands and Feet Project team that will guide girls from rescue to placement in their homes or at HAFP
- In every country – that future trainings and raids can continue despite COVID and continuously changing COVID precautions