Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery, widespread throughout the United States today. Trafficking of humans is one of the largest criminal industries in the world and the largest growing. Many victims of trafficking are made to engage in prostitution, pornography or exotic dancing. But trafficking also occurs in form of labor, exploitation, such as domestic servitude or restaurant work, or migrant agricultural work. Force, fraud and coercion are the methods used by traffickers to press victims into lives of servitude and abuse:
Victims of trafficking can be found in: commercial sex, domestic situations, factories, farming or landscaping, hotel and tourist industries, panhandling, janitorial services, restaurant services.
More than 100,000 youth fall prey to human trafficking every year in the United States. Did you know that at least 100,000 children are exploited through child sex?
Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world today, with more than 27,000,000 victims – a number that is growing by the second. Cases of human trafficking reported in South Carolina to the National Human Trafficking hotline alone 2012 – 29, rising to 2016 – 73.
Identifying victims of human trafficking: Victims may look like many of the people coming to your organization for assistance every day. Victims are young children, teens, men and women. By looking beneath the surface and asking yourself these questions, you can help identify potential victims:
• Is the person accompanied by another person who seems controlling?
• Is person rarely allowed in public except for work?
• Can you detect any physical or psychological abuse?
• Does person seem fearful?
• Does person lack identification?
• Is someone else collecting the person’s pay for safe keeping?
Knowing what clues to look for and what questions to ask can help you identify potential victims.
Before questioning a person who may be a victim of human trafficking, discreetly separate the person from the individual accompanying her/him, since this person could be the trafficker posing as a spouse, other family member or employee.
If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at l-888-3737- 888 to obtain information.
Through awareness, communities can be empowered to recognize the signs of human trafficking…. And with your support, we can empower victims and transform them into survivors.
Be a voice, start a chain reaction that saves lives. Be a partner. The Lighthouse for Life is a non-profit organization that is seeking to combat sex trafficking through education, restoration, and empowerment. Started in 2014, it was realized the vast need for housing and after-care programs for survivors. The name Lighthouse of Life was birthed from a vision of a lighthouse that was surrounded by smaller homes. People from all over are coming towards the Light and finding shelter in these homes.
(Information from training presented at Eighth Circuit Solicitor’s Office on human trafficking for juvenile arbitrators. )
Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.