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Stopping Traffick.

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking prevention month.

So I wanted to share a few statistics about Human Trafficking and how we as a community can do our part to diminish and prevent trafficking altogether. I will also be featuring an interview I did with a federal agent that has homeland security first-hand experience with human trafficking.

Raising Awareness.

January 11th is #WearBlueDay but you can always wear blue and use the hashtag in support of raising awareness for Human Trafficking, online you can post photos with the hashtag #WearBlueDay.

Human Trafficking...

Human trafficking refers to any force or coercion into labor and/or sex. It is often referred to as "modern day slavery". There are several forms of human trafficking: sexual, labor, forced marriage, youth soldiers, and organ harvesting, just to name a few. According to the International Labour Organization, human trafficking and modern slavery impacts over 40 million victims and counting; 1 in 4 of which are children. Women and young girls represent 99% of sex trafficking victims.

The sad reality.

Just like victims of trafficking come from all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds, so do the perpetrators. In many cases they are unsuspecting and initially lure both children and adults with promises of wealth, gifts, lifestyles, etc. There are a few risk factors that unfortunately can make people more susceptible to being victims of trafficking. In many cases, perpetrators use their power, money, or influence to lure victims and create a dependency.

People may be vulnerable to trafficking if they:

  • Have an unstable living situation

  • Have previously experienced other forms of violence such as sexual abuse or domestic violence

  • Have run away or are involved in the juvenile justice or child welfare system

  • Are undocumented immigrants

  • Are facing poverty or economic need

  • Have a caregiver or family member who has a substance use issue

  • Are addicted to drugs or alcohol

-via the Human Trafficking Hotline

Our responsibility.

Be vigilant. Know your surroundings. As a community we have to look out for one another, if you see suspicious activity, do not try to investigate, please stay out of harms way, and report it right away! Whether in public or in the home, and on the internet, be sure to keep an eye out for yourself and your loved ones, children especially. In your daily interactions and navigation, use caution and discernment when meeting new and familiar people in personal and professional settings, again traffickers can be found in all professions and are not always strangers. If possible avoid certain jobs and professions, such as sex and porn work that can exploit you. If you are a sex worker and feel threatened or abused in any manner please see the resources below.

Law enforcement on Human Trafficking...interview with a federal agent.

-How bad is human trafficking in the United States? Specifically the DMV area?

Human trafficking is very prevalent in the DMV region. In the DMV area, a lot of the Human trafficking falls under the force labor tracking as under aged girls are being forced into sex work. This has a lot to do with the number of immigrants, legal and illegal in the area. Traffickers here target young girls and older women, especially those who are illegal because of their fear to report anything to the authorities. However, trafficking is not limited to immigrants. Human traffickers have known to become very aggressive going after women in clubs, shopping malls etc. The DMV region serves as a conduit for traffickers as it is easy to transport victims from state to state via major arteries like I 95. Traffickers take advantage of the many conference’s in the area to pray on potential victims. These are things traffickers look for when planning to set up shop in any given area. Human traffickers target the following,

· Runaways

· Homeless teens and young adults

· Those in the faster care system

· Those without a strong network of family and friends

· Migrant workers/ immigrants legal and illegal who speak little English.

· Others with poor socio-economic situations.

-What would most people be surprised by in terms of human trafficking?

Anyone can become a victim of human trafficking. Did you know that last year males accounted for 30-40% of human trafficking victims throughout the world?

-What can we as a community do to decrease trafficking in our area?

In order to decrease Human Trafficking in our area, citizens must become more vigilant to the signs of human trafficking. The public needs to know how to identify victims and know what to do once a victim is identified. TIME is key once you feel that you have identified a victim of human trafficking. If you see something, say something. Human traffickers move fast to avoid detection. Some of the signs of Human trafficking are

· Disheveled appearance

· Moving in groups

· Signs of abuse/ bruises/marks

· Reluctant to talk or make eye contact

· Someone being controlled by others

-What we're authorities doing to combat trafficking?

On July 30, 2020, Department of Justice announced the consolidation of law enforcement, juvenile justice, and victim services human trafficking initiatives at its Office of Justice Programs into the new Human Trafficking Division within the Department of Justice, to further efforts to combat human trafficking in the United States by aligning funding. This allows more resources to be concentrated on education and human trafficking prevention.

-What areas and activities be avoided to avoid being a victim of trafficking?

Here are some tips on how to avoid sex traffickers.

· Always be aware of your surroundings

· Play close attention to behaviors of those around you in person and on social media

· Don’t go to clubs/bars/alone

· When traveling to places like target/Walmart, park towards the front of the store in well lit areas. Avoid parking next to vans, pickup trucks and moving trucks (U-Haul).

· Always tell a trusted friend or family member where you’re going.

· Trust your judgment/instincts.


-To report suspected human trafficking, contact the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line: 1-866-347-2423.

-For victim assistance, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).

-Training and awareness.

-Fundraising, training, outreach.

Head over to my YouTube channel for more information.

Stay safe & stay sane!

Xoxo, Aeb.

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