What Can I Do during Human Trafficking Awareness Month?
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, an opportunity to educate the public about trafficking and encourage action to combat this growing problem in our region.
The reality is human trafficking — the exploitation of a person for compelled labor or a commercial sex act through force, fraud or coercion — is happening in communities across Nebraska and affects all races, genders and ages.
Every month, 900 individuals are sold for sex, often multiple times, in Nebraska. About 75 percent of them show at least one indicator of being trafficked. We saw this need and created The Salvation Army's Fight to End Trafficking program, which supports trafficking survivors by offering direct services and comprehensive case management to help them take steps toward their life goals.
Knowing this problem exists, are you asking yourself "What can I do?" Each one of us has the power to end trafficking in our community. One way to help is to know the signs of trafficking.
Here are some indicators someone may be a trafficking victim:
- A sudden or dramatic change in behavior
- Disconnected from family, friends or community organizations
- Difficulty focusing, persistent fear, depression and/or anxiety
- Evidence of being controlled like rarely being alone or not being able to speak for themselves
- Physical harm (bruises, scars, untreated illness)
- Expressed fear to leave an employer
- Not in possession of personal identification and/or personal items
- Tattoos that appear possessive, like barcodes
- In possession of excessive amounts of cash, hotel key cards and cell phones
- School-age but not in school during the school year
Knowing these signs, remember: if you see something, say something. If you suspect someone is a victim or a perpetrator, call the National Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888, text HELP to BEFREE (233733), or, in an emergency, call 911.
Education about trafficking is essential in reducing the stigma associated with trafficking while creating a safe environment for survivors to seek help. Learn how The Salvation Army is fighting for justice, and together we can stop trafficking in our communities.
Support the SAFE-T program during Human Trafficking Awareness Month and ensure survivors find the help they need.