This month, we wanted to spend a moment shining a light on a subject that is little discussed. Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. This crime occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will.
Did you know that since December 2007, there have been over 40,000 cases of human trafficking reported within the United States? Here are some additional statistics about modern-day slavery that you might not know:
- – In 2017, there were over 26,000 calls received by the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
- – There were over 8,500 human trafficking cases reported in 2017.
With all these instances of trafficking within the U.S. and in present day is astounding and overwhelming. Although it might seem like too big of an issue to tackle, there’s something we can all do on an individual level that helps shed more light on this horrific subject. Here are some signs to look out for if you think an individual is being trafficked*:
- – Is not free to leave or come and go at will
- – Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
- – Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
- – Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
- – Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
- – Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
- – High-security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
- – Is living and working on site
- – Experiences verbal or physical abuse by their supervisor
- – Is not given proper safety equipment
- – Is not paid directly
- – Is forced to meet daily quotas
If you do think someone is being trafficked, please reach out to the National Human Trafficking Hotline by visiting their website or by calling their toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888. If you would like to learn more about this epidemic, watch our documentary, In Plain Sight: Human Trafficking, that takes a deep-dive on the subject.
* This is in no way a complete or exhaustive list of signs of human trafficking. Bear in mind that not all indicators will be present in all situations. The type of trafficking and the content or environment are all important to take into account.