What Is It and How to Fight It?
Can you imagine what it would be like to wake up every morning and have absolutely no say in what you do or where you go? Unfortunately, this is the reality for approximately 27.6 million people in the United States. Kept against their will with their voices silenced and suppressed by abuse, these are the victims of human trafficking.
In this article, we will take a look at what human trafficking is, how it happens, and the steps you can take to keep yourself safe.
What Is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking refers to transferring, transporting, recruiting, or harboring people through fraud, deception, force, or coercion to exploit them and make a profit.
Keep in mind that individuals do not need to be transported across borders for human trafficking to take place. This crime is defined by the movement of an individual, which can occur within a country or even within a community.
How Does Human Trafficking Happen?
Human trafficking is based on deceiving and exploiting innocent and unsuspecting people. In this section, we explore some common ways used for human trafficking.
1. Romance and Seduction
Romance and seduction are one of the most common ways of human trafficking. Here, a person seduces another person to trick them into prostitution or other illegal work. They develop romantic relationships with their victim, which often becomes emotionally abusive.
The perpetrators might even make promises to the victim about living a better life away from their existing home. This isolates them from their family members and encourages them to move away.
2. Fake Job Ads
Human traffickers also entice their victims through fake job ads or travel opportunities. They often use a registered business to post job opportunities on legit websites. In addition, they target places where they know people are searching for ways to leave and make a life elsewhere, such as countries experiencing economic instability.
Trafficked individuals typically cover their traveling costs themselves and arrive at their destination with all their documents. Upon arrival, their documents are taken from them, they are abused and made to work against their will.
3. Abuse of Religious Beliefs
Human traffickers often exploit religious beliefs to recruit victims and ensure compliance. They do this by suggesting that the way things happen is actually God’s will.
Victims might be made to swear that they will obey the commands of the trafficker and try not to escape. These promises work as psychological bonds and place the victims in a state of compliance without the use of violence or threats.
Even though it does happen, kidnapping is a less common method of human trafficking than the ones discussed above. This is due to the fact that kidnapped victims have a higher chance of running away than those who go willingly.
How to Fight Human Trafficking?
Whether you are in elementary school, high school, or college, there are several steps you can take to fight human trafficking. Here are some things you can do to prevent trafficking:
1. Educate Yourself
The first thing you can do to fight human trafficking is to learn about what it is and how it can happen. You can access resources such as news articles, documentaries, or social media accounts to educate yourself on the warning signs of trafficking and how to keep yourself safe. Also, don’t forget to talk to your parents, teachers, or other adults you trust to get more information and ask questions.
2. Be Vigilant
Being vigilant means being aware of your surroundings and noticing any suspicious activity that may indicate human trafficking.
Remember, traffickers often use deception, manipulation, and coercion tactics to lure their victims. Thus, you should be aware of these tactics and be cautious of strangers who try to befriend you or offer you gifts, money, or other rewards.
You should always trust your instincts and be wary of uncomfortable or unsafe situations. For example, if a stranger approaches you in a public place and their behavior seems strange or aggressive, you should move away and seek help from a trusted adult.
3. Use Social Media Safely
You should be careful when using social media and avoid sharing personal information such as your address or pictures online.
You should also properly set your privacy settings. Most social media platforms, such as Facebook, have privacy settings that allow you to control who can see your posts and profile. You can ask your parents or guardians for help to set up your privacy settings so that only people you know and trust can see your content.
4. Advocate for Change
You can advocate for change by raising awareness about human trafficking and supporting organizations like Dream and Future that work to combat trafficking. You can also write emails and letters to your local and national lawmakers to encourage them to take action on this issue.
In addition, you can raise funds to fight human exploitation. For instance, you can organize an art exhibition, create an email campaign, host a garage sale, etc.
Human trafficking is a dreadful and inhumane crime, and it’s necessary to build awareness in order to reduce it. Educating yourself on human trafficking and how it’s done is the first step you can take to fight it.
If you think human trafficking is taking place in your community, or if someone you know is its victim, you must speak up! Remembers might not speak up themselves, so it’s important that you play a role in saving them. You can get in touch with the police or call The National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.