You are probably aware that Human trafficking is modern-day slavery with victims providing labor or services through force, fraud or coercion. This crime is happening everywhere, from large cities to small towns around the world. The true size of this problem is immeasurable, but the Northern Tier Anti-Trafficking Consortium (NTAC) estimates that 800,000 individuals are trafficked across international borders every year and 27 million people are enslaved across the world. On a global scale, human trafficking is estimated to be a $32 Billion business, and tied with the sales of arms as the second largest criminal enterprise worldwide. Drug dealing remains the largest criminal enterprise.
On the street level, what can the average person do to help stop human trafficking? The first step is to learn how to recognize it. Here are some tips to help you identify potential human trafficking victims.
So how do you identify a trafficking situation?
Look out in your neighborhood and watch for the following sign of a possible suspected victim:
- He/She appears to live and work at the same location
- He/She appears unable to leave a location unaccompanied
- He/She shows signs of assault
- He/She displays poor personal hygiene
- He/She does not have access to identity documents
- He/She appears to have suffered from verbal or psychological abuse
- He/She are paid little or nothing at all, or only allowed to keep tips
- He/She are not in control of their own money, or have very limited access to pocket money
- He/She appears to work long hours with minimal or no breaks
- He/She appears to owe a debt to an employer, labor recruiter/employment agency, or loan shark
- He/She appears to have their communication restricted or controlled. They may not be allowed to speak for themselves, a third party may insist on interpreting, or they may seem watched or followed
- He/She exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior towards any government officials, especially law enforcement
- He/She has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
- He/She appears to have been told lies or deceitful information about their work situation or marriage
If you suspect a person may be a victim of trafficking contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888: Call Specialists are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking. All reports are confidential and you may remain anonymous. Interpreters are available.
You can also notify your local law enforcement agency. Report the incident anonymously if you wish, but please report it. You could be helping a victim regain their freedom.