Today, Monday, Jan. 11, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. It’s unlike Valentine’s Day, the Fourth of July, or even Arbor Day. There is nothing to celebrate, just awareness to create and action to take.
Globally, 30 million people are trafficked for sex each year. That’s nearly as many people as live in California, and 10 percent, three million of those trafficked are children – 200,000 of them here in the United States.
However, sex trafficking isn’t the only crime. There’s also labor trafficking – where people are induced by force, fraud or coercion to perform labor or services. Traffickers target vulnerable populations, people with histories of abuse and then use violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage, or other forms of control and manipulation to keep control over their victims.
Child labor trafficking occurs in agriculture, domestic servitude, peddling and sales crews, and service industries, such as restaurants.
Traffickers – in sex and labor – often target vulnerable people with histories of abuse and then use violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage or other forms of control and manipulation to keep them under control and involved.
There’s no typical victim. Human trafficking spans all segments, such as age, socio-economic status, nationality, education-level and gender. Traffickers prey on people hoping for a better life, lacking employment opportunities, having an unstable home life, or with a history of sexual abuse—conditions present in all spheres of society.
Victims are found in cities, suburbs and rural areas in all 50 states, and incidences of human trafficking spike in cities and communities that host major sporting events such as the Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, Indianapolis 500 and others.
The most vulnerable populations include undocumented immigrants; runaway and homeless youth; victims of trauma and abuse; refugees and individuals fleeing conflict; and oppressed, marginalized, and impoverished groups and individuals.
Human trafficking in a heinous crime. Get informed, get involved. Here are some sites to get more information:
- Louisville Human Trafficking Task Force: https://www.facebook.com/LouisvilleHumanTraffickingTaskForce
- UNICEF: https://www.unicefusa.org/mission/protect/trafficking?gclid=Cj0KEQiAtri0BRDLoaCF95e7o_sBEiQA_pgRQ7smLPPRaCIlTWe8wwlSWu5K_JGWNEqktayYvElNGPcaAkTk8P8HAQ
- Kentucky Rescue and Restore: http://www.rescueandrestoreky.org/