Human trafficking is the act of illegally buying and selling human beings for forced labor or sexual exploitation and is commonly referred to as “modern day slavery.” But that only happens in faraway places, nowhere near you or your family…right? Well, not exactly.
Human trafficking, while it definitely is a global issue, it has also become a local issue even here in the United States. There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today, pushing human trafficking to the third largest international crime industry in the world with it generating a profit of roughly $32 billion every year. While people would like to think that this does not happen in countries like the United States, more than half of that profit is generated in industrialized countries (including the U.S.). This is not a problem that is only happening far, far away. This is a problem that is happening all around the world in increasingly high numbers, with people even being trafficked here in our own country. One cannot help but wonder, are you and your family safe from human trafficking? There are a few things you should know to ensure that you are.
It is important to understand how traffickers typically try to lure people in. One of the key things to know is that they often make false promises of a better life to their potential victims. This often includes empty promises of high paying jobs, education, or travel opportunities. They use these things to isolate people from their families and money so that they can be taken advantage of.
This method of luring people by using promises of a better life is especially effective on people who are struggling financially, as it is hard for them to pass up the promise of a high paying job, people who struggle with drug dependency, as traffickers can have the upper hand by using drugs as a manipulation tool, or teenage runaways with nowhere else to go, as they are easy to persuade due to their vulnerability and need for money, food, and shelter.
In order to stay safe, your best bet is to be careful when it comes to opportunities such as these. While there are plenty of amazing work, education, or travel experiences available from reputable companies online and probably even in your community, be wary of offers that seem too good to be true.
If you suspect that a person is trying to take advantage of you, one useful indicator of safety is to see how they take rejection. If you reject an offer and they take it just fine, that is a sign that they are probably safe; however, if you reject an offer and in return, the person responds violently, possessively, or abusively, that is a sign that you should avoid that person as they may be trying to take advantage of you.
Another useful defense mechanism is to find out as much as you possibly can about the opportunity. Read all of the fine print, read testimonials and reviews from people who have been there, ask for pictures, and ask all kinds of questions! A real employer or organization would be happy to answer your questions whereas a trafficker may become annoyed and could potentially give up if a person is being too difficult (remember, they want an easy victim).
Another helpful tool is to always be careful on social media. Traffickers will often create fake profiles to meet and lure in a victim. This goes for both yourself and your children, as this method is especially popular for luring in young teens.
When it comes to human trafficking, it is best to stay on the safe side and be weary of too-good-to-be-true offers and to think critically about what a person is saying or offering you. Watch out for friends and family, maybe even sharing this article with them as well so that they can also be aware of the dangers and signs of human trafficking.
If you or someone you know needs help, please do not hesitate to reach out to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Their number is 1 (888) 373-7888 and they are also available via SMS, just text HELP or INFO to 233733. They are open 24/7 and over 200 languages are available. Their website is traffickingresourcecenter.org.
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