Remember Human Trafficking As the Month Ends
As National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month comes to an end, it is important to continue supporting efforts to raise awareness of human trafficking in the United States. This is a human rights crisis that remains in the shadows without any obvious signs or suspicious activity. Traffickers often threaten victims or portray a false security from U.S. law enforcement or immigration officials, thus discouraging victims away from seeking help.
Efforts to combat human trafficking rely heavily on every day citizens identifying and acting on trafficking indicators to protect victims and prosecute traffickers.
It is important to remember that human trafficking takes on many forms and can occur to anyone, anywhere, regardless of citizenship, gender, age or city. In order to shed light on human trafficking in the US, anti-trafficking organizations, such as the Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign and the Polaris Project have identified the following victim indicators to help individuals recognize possible human trafficking victims:
- Harmed or deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care, or other life necessities
- Acts fearful, nervous, paranoid, or submissive
- Dependent on another person, especially an employer
- Not free to come and go as they please
- Unpaid or paid little for work or services
- Works long or unusual hours
- Not allowed to socialize or attend religious services
- Cannot freely contact friends or family
- Holds little or no possessions
- Not in control of their own finances or identification documents
For more information or to report suspicious activity, contact the DHS Blue Campaign at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or www.dhs.gov/humantrafficking. You can also contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (NHTRC) at 1-888-3737-888. The NHTRC is operated by the Polaris Project, a nongovernmental organization and is not a law enforcement or immigration authority. The Polaris Project has additional information at http://www.polarisproject.org.
While the month focusing on this human rights crisis comes to an end, the Government, private sector, and private industry must continue to work together to fight it all year.