By Secily Emrich
Human trafficking exists everywhere, and college campuses are no exception. Between classes, clubs, work, and all the busyness of this season- considering if someone you know is trapped in modern-day slavery isn’t usually on the list of priorities. The combination of limited free time and growing student debt can actually put college students more at risk for being trafficked. There are three ways you can help prevent this.
1. Be Proactive.
Familiarize yourself with your university’s resources. Whether it’s the Title IX coordinator, a trusted faculty member, campus police, or an anonymous online reporting option through your school’s website, know how and where to report. Perhaps you see something that just causes some uncertainty; don’t be afraid to speak up. Work your way through common stressors that come with reporting, like being nervous about making a mistake or being afraid of damaging a relationship by reporting someone you know. According to the National Trafficking Hotline, 246 calls were made in the state of Pennsylvania in 2018. Rescuing someone from slavery requires another individual taking initiative. Be that individual.
Whether it’s someone you notice at a restaurant or party, or your roommate who is out at all hours of the night and rarely shows up for class, constantly be on the lookout. It is easy to believe that exploitation only happens overseas, or involves violence and abduction. The reality is that human trafficking can be hidden in plain sight. Educate yourself about the common signs of a trafficking situation. Broaden your alertness to involve traffickers as well. It can be much more difficult to discern a trafficker, who can easily be disguised as a “nice person.” Be aware of new dating relationships and people you meet online.
3. Spread Awareness.
Book a speaker and host a group where you and others on your campus can be educated on the real problem of modern-day slavery. Alongside your friends and classmates, learn what you can do about it. Be involved on your campus so you can have a large network through which you can spread information about trafficking. Attend an event or consider applying for our internship!
If you witness or suspect human trafficking, or you are personally being trafficked, call the toll-free, multilingual, 24-hour National Human Trafficking Resource Center & Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to 233733 (BEFREE).
The first step to abolishing human trafficking is education, awareness, and understanding. Greenlight Operation offers age appropriate education and trainings at schools, churches, clubs, events, or other community gatherings. If you would like to schedule a speaking engagement or training event please go to https://www.greenlightoperation.org/schedule-a-training/.
To partner with us financially, read our blog, meet our team, or grab some great swag, visit www.greenlightoperation.org.