Pennsylvania Courts have cited that Dauphin County has the third highest number of human trafficking charges across the state. This information confirms the sobering fact that human trafficking occurs on a local level. However, it reveals something else– Dauphin County officials are not only aware of the crime, but are actively holding traffickers accountable to the law!
Understandably so, statistics such as the one mentioned above, are often utilized to support claims that human trafficking is a particular issue in a particular geographic area. Organizations share this with their supporters to garner awareness, lawmakers include it in their rationale of new legislation, and posts fly on social media to raise the alarm. Naturally, to effect change, one must first prove the problem in order to justify the resources and effort spent on it…right?
In one sense, yes, we would be wise to expand our anti-trafficking work based on supporting data that says human trafficking is prevalent. In another sense though, we know that human trafficking is happening in all 67 counties within Pennsylvania. Therefore, like in this example, the identification and prosecution of human trafficking cases in Dauphin County does not indicate a problem, but is rather evidence of progress. Instead of using these figures to look down on areas with a high volume of cases, we can see them for what they are– counties that have the collective awareness to report human trafficking, the reporting channels to identify survivors, and the drive to see traffickers brought to justice.
In reality, if your county has zero charges filed for human trafficking, it is potentially an indicator that very little is being done to intervene in these offenses.
While this may be a harsh reality, there is hope! Greenlight Operation sees great opportunity to enact change, but your support is needed! Here are just a few ways that you can help support anti-human trafficking efforts:
- Encourage your county to launch a human trafficking task force, or support ones that already exist. Greenlight Operation is privileged to be a part of Dauphin County’s Human Trafficking Task Force and provides strategic assistance to others looking to take an effective role in stopping this criminal industry within their communities.
- Schedule a training: Greenlight Operation hosts speaking engagements specifically tailored to law enforcement, district attorneys, and other members of the criminal justice system.
- Reach out to the officials in counties where no prosecutions have occurred and ask how you can support a remedy for that.
- Sponsor a training for $250 so more frontline workers can be equipped with lifesaving information!
Have you heard of the phrase, “Build it and [they] will come”? This quote is not unlike what is needed to combat human trafficking. When communities invest in building anti-trafficking initiatives– even if previously operating under the assumption that human trafficking “doesn’t happen here”– they will begin to see those who are affected by the industry. So let’s get building!
“Human Trafficking in Pennsylvania”, Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, (Jan 2023), https://www.pacourts.us/news-and-statistics/news/news-detail/1124/cracking-down-on-human-trafficking-in-pennsylvania