Monday, January 11 marks National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, as part of a month-long U.S. nationwide campaign, by Presidential Proclamation, to raise awareness about how to prevent or reduce trafficking and the conditions that foster it, shed light on the victims of modern slavery, and show a renewed commitment to bringing perpetrators to justice so that all human beings may not be denied their inherent rights or dignity. The campaign culminates on February 1, National Freedom Day.
Officials are making efforts to make clear that human trafficking is not just a problem overseas, it is not synonymous with sex trafficking, nor is sex trafficking synonymous with prostitution, it doesn’t only affect women, and it’s not just people who’ve been abducted.
Human trafficking happens in the U.S. Between 14,500-17,500 people are estimated to be trafficked in the U.S. each year.
While sex trafficking gets most of the attention, humans are trafficked for all kinds of slave labor, for purposes of marriage or adoption, and even for their organs.
There is a difference between voluntary prostitution and people who’ve been coerced into sexual servitude. Treating prostitutes as criminals who should be deported risks revictimizing people who’ve already been victimized and abused.
There is no one candidate vulnerable to trafficking. Women, men, boys, and girls can all be victims of trafficking.
A lot of attention is put on “stranger danger” but in truth trafficking often happens through someone the victim knows and trusts.
FBI’s Guide to Protecting Children from Online Victimization
The FBI has produced a guide for parents seeking to help protect their children from exploitation online. Among their recommendations, they include:
- to never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met online;
- to never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or online service to people they do not personally know;
- to never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number;
- to never download pictures from an unknown source, as there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images;
- to never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing;
- that whatever they are told online may or may not be true.
- To report a potential case of trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Center at 1-888-3737-888.
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