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Human Trafficking

Updated: Aug 31, 2019

What is human trafficking?

The dictionary defines it as the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purpose of forced labor or sexual exploitation.

Examples of human trafficking

Sarah is a single mother with one child, a two year old son. Her best friend introduces her to a man named Jeff. He takes her out to dinner, buys her expensive gifts, and treats her like a queen. Over the next few months, Sarah tells Jeff everything about herself. After Jeff has learned her life story, he offers to help her make money to support herself and her son. She loves him so she agrees to be a prostitute for him. Mariah is a twenty-five year old woman who works as a waitress. A customer, Anne, comes in and is very nice, but quickly becomes intoxicated. Anne asks Mariah to call an Uber from her phone and she finds it in contacts. Anne asks Mariah to please help her outside, and she complies because the woman can barely stand. A large car pulls up and Anne tries to push Mariah in as a man inside grabs her. Leo is a strong, forty year old man who is taking a walk around his "safe" neighberhood. A woman calls for help and when he gets close enough to help her, three men with guns tell him to get into a vehicle. He's told that he will be working at a restaurant several states away and if he gives them any trouble his family will be killed. They have already gotten his mobile phone that has his family's phone numbers and addresses listed in contacts.

How Can I Keep Myself and My Family Safe

Always be aware of your surroundings. Do not let your phone or anyone distract you while out in public.If you are out in public and you suddenly have a new friend, be suspicious. Never leave with them or give them any identifying information (first/last name, phone number, etc). Traffickers often use women because people feel that they are more trustworthy.Avoid walking alone. Act swiftly if you become suspicious. Go into the nearest building and tell someone there that you are being followed. Stay there at least until the person or car leaves. Call someone you know well to pick you up.Use social media wisely. Be suspicious of strangers who approach you after you’ve posted something personal on your social media profile and their suddenly offering you help, advice, money, a place to stay or a job opportunity. If you’re getting random messages from people on social media, check your privacy settings, turn off your location settings on social media and only make your posts visible to your friends (not to the public). Also avoid checking in to places on social media. Carry pepper spray or taser with you at all times. Make sure that you learn how to use them before you need them. If you are attacked fight, yell for help, and cause a scene like your life depends on it (because it likely does!).Allow three people whom you trust to be able to track the location on your phone.Trust your instincts. . Check with family and friends for advice if you get offers that are too good to be true. Do Internet searches or background checks on the person wanting you to meet with them. Say no and see how they react. Look for signs of abusive or possessive behaviors. Is the person trying to isolate or turn you against family and friends? If so, avoid that person. Don’t let anyone know where you live until you get to know them. If you are buying or selling something, ask the other person to meet you at the police department.If you are young, never run away from home. If you need help, tell a teacher, a guidance counselor, pastor, etc and let them help you.

Is the Government Doing Anything?

The short answer is yes. Presidents Obama and Trump both signed laws to help prevent human trafficking. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, Department of Education, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Department of Housing & Urban Development all have roles in stopping human trafficking or helping victims of human trafficking. To read more visit

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