It Takes a Network
January 30, 2020

Human Trafficking in the News

There’s a common thread popping up in the news on trafficking lately: that industries are collaborating to get serious about the threat of trafficking. It takes a network of collaboration to combat such a widespread problem.

Here are some examples:

Financial institution network

The most interesting one is Paypal is partnering with Polaris, with the help of law enforcement as well, to develop a system of spotting financial activity that might be a sign of trafficking. This is a great example of government agencies collaborating with companies and non-profits to collectively address the problem.

This same news article also mentions that dozens of banks are working with a United Nations program “to offer trafficking survivors accounts and debit cards, tools they may lack if their captor stole their financial identity or ruined their credit.” This shows that financial institutions can play a key role not only in helping to identify traffickers, but also to provide critical support to survivors.

UPS

UPS plans to train 130,000 delivery drivers to spot sex trafficking victims.” Because they deliver to so many locations, they may be in a prime spot to notice someone who needs help. “Clifton [from UPS Public Affairs] explained that when they began training their employees, a few truck-driving employees came forward and said that they had seen these young girls knocking on truck doors at various stops, but they did not know enough to make a call and help them.”

American Airlines

In a continuation of the trend for airlines to become more involved in anti-trafficking efforts, American Airlines is collaborating with DHS in an initiative which “provides human trafficking awareness training to nearly 60,000 team members, including flight attendants, pilots, and customer service team members.”

It’s important not only that these kinds of trainings happen at all, but that they are continual because traffickers can be very adaptable and it’s critical that industries keep up to date with changes in tactics and stay aware of how traffickers or victims might operate.

Super Bowl

Major sporting events, the Super Bowl in particular, have gotten a reputation for being a big draw for potential traffickers. Thanks to this reputation, the Super Bowl has now become an opportunity to raise heightened public awareness in general about trafficking.

“We actually haven’t seen a significant increase in reports to the National Human Trafficking Hotline around the Super Bowl or really any other large event,” Diemar told Fox News. “Instead, we’re seeing an incredible amount of awareness, which is bringing great attention to the issue of human trafficking and might cause a slight uptick in reports to the trafficking hotline, but we don’t consider that actually indicative of an increase in trafficking occurring at the Super Bowl.”

Diemar said that, due to the increased awareness, a larger number of people and institutions tend to invest more in resources to combat human trafficking around the Super Bowl. Law enforcement officials in Miami have reportedly warned hotel workers, ride-hailing service drivers and security personnel to be especially alert during the Super Bowl weekend. (Source: Fox News)

This network of hotel, transportation, and security service providers can be a powerful preventative measure against trafficking too–if traffickers know it’s more likely they’ll get caught, then maybe they’ll begin to stay away from these kinds of events.

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