Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. It’s the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some form of labor or commercial sex act. And it still exists today:
While the United States has done a tremendous job to combat this destructive crime, there is still more work to be done.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
As long as human trafficking exists, our communities are at risk to the injustices of modern-day slavery.
There is no single indicator, but below are some signs you should be aware of. 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
Studies show most victims are rescued simply because a community member calls the authorities about suspected trafficking.
In the anti-human trafficking field, it’s common to hear phrases like, “human trafficking can happen to anyone,” or “it’s happening in our backyard.” But while these statements are technically true, they don’t capture who the majority of trafficking victims are: people stuck in vulnerable situations.
According to Polaris, vulnerable situations include:
These situations are often complicated, messy, and may be difficult to spot. But as Polaris reminds us—”it’s not knowing the signs, it’s knowing the story” that matters.
Knowing someone’s story means knowing where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re heading. It means knowing people, not just picking up on non-contextual clues. This often takes more time and effort than assessing someone based on indicators, but it can prove more effective in the long run. If you want to fight human trafficking well, get to know people—especially those that might be in vulnerable situations.