Hey guys! As some of you may know, January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Known as the modern day slavery, human trafficking is the fastest growing organized crime present day.
Simply put, human trafficking is the exploitation of human beings as a means of gaining profit. The victims are manipulated through use of violence, intimidation, debt, threats, blackmail, deception, and more. Human trafficking manifests itself in a variety of different ways, the most common being the sex and labor trades.
There is a stereotype of human trafficking victims consisting only of low income women in third world countries. That, however, is not the whole picture. Men, women, and children of all ages, races, and geographic locations are caught up in the industry. They are often lured by fake promises and hopes of a better future.
Today I have an opportunity to share with you some of the tragedies that are happening present day, and more importantly, an opportunity to show what you can do about it.
Here are some statistics.
- The International Labour Organization estimates that there are more than 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally.
68% of them are trapped in forced labor.
26% of them are children.
55% are women and girls.
- In 2016, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimated that 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported to them were likely sex trafficking victims.
- The human trafficking industry generates more than 32 billion dollars annually.
- There is no minimum age for victims of human trafficking. Children as young, and even younger than 4 and 5 years old are forced into the trafficking industry.
- The U.S. State Department cites that 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across borders every year.
These statistics are changing drastically every day, growing at a rapid and alarming rate.
Here’s what we can do about it.
- Boycott products and companies that have ties to human trafficking. The Department of Labor has a list of goods produced by child labor or forced labor.
- Raise awareness by hosting an event.
- Support the survivors of human trafficking by buying from companies designed to provide them with the work and resources they need to get back on their feet.
- Be vocal. Consider contacting local representatives, if you want to make a change, a great way to do it is by lobbying policymakers.
- Become informed about the signs and indicators of human trafficking. If you suspect that someone is a victim of human trafficking, call 911 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at +1 888-373-7888 immediately. It’s much more common than we think.
- Talk to local schools and universities about making students and their families aware of the problem.
- Support efforts to eradicate human trafficking. A21 and Polaris are great organizations that are making a tangible difference in the fight against human trafficking.
There will be an end to human trafficking, but only if we stand up and make a change. Join the movement, freedom starts with you.