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Human trafficking is a severe form of exploitation. Sex trafficking occurs when someone is induced, through the use of force, fraud or coercion to engage in a commercial sex act, or when the person who is induced to perform a commercial sex act is under the age of 18. Labor trafficking occurs when someone is recruited, harbored, transported, provided, or obtained, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, to work in situations of involuntary servitude, peonage, or debt bondage. These situations are far more common than imagined. Human trafficking happens in both legal, visible spaces and in illicit and often stigmatized settings. It happens on our streets, at our businesses, and in our homes. It happens right here.
Here are some indicators which suggest a person may be a victim of human trafficking:
This list is not exhaustive. One of these indicators on its own may not mean someone is trafficked, but a combination of indicators may amount to a situation of human trafficking.
If you think you know or have met a victim of human trafficking in the Chicago area, call The Salvation Army's STOP-IT program hotline at 877.606.3158. You will speak with an outreach worker who can provide further information and assistance. Your call is confidential.
Do not try to remove someone from a dangerous situation on your own or bring them to your home or place of employment. This can be dangerous for yourself and for the survivor, should the trafficker become aware of your location. Instead, try to connect them to resources, only if and when it safe to do so. If the person is not interested in getting immediate assistance but is willing and able to take a phone number, write down the National Human Trafficking Hotline number (888.3737.888) for their use when they are ready to exit their situation. If the person states that they do not need help and/or are not interested in taking the phone number you are offering, respect that individual's wishes and walk away.