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Ways of Identifying Human Trafficking

human traffickingJanuary has been designated ‘Human Trafficking’ month. Coincidentally during the same month is an event that creates a peak season.

As we near the end of January, and get ready to watch the big game on February 1st. The Superbowl is estimated to bring in excess of 500 million to the Arizona area.

Under the lights of the stadium. In the shadows of the dimly lit streets. A secret lies waiting. Depending on the thousands of fans attending the game’s festivities. Innocence will be lost before the game ends. A 9.5 billion dollar industry will use the national spotlight to expand its impact.

While many think they would recognize a sex slave. A victim could be the person sitting right next to you. Possibly the stranger you are about to meet. Pimps will follow the money. The Superbowl will once again prove to be a premium market. However, maybe not the increase as previously touted. Any event that draws crowds become targets for human traffickers, both sellers and buyers.

Human trafficking is an everyday problem, 365 days a year. One that every person should be aware of and can help prevent. California, Texas and even my own home state of Florida have the most confirmed incidents of trafficking in the US. Worldwide it is estimated to impact in excess of 20 million victims.

Slavery no longer requires chains and bondage of days past. Much of it exists in homes in our own cities. A simple click of a mouse, another life sold. Pornography has become a human trafficking multi-million dollar industry.

Temptation on a computer screen exposes the wounds of lost sons and daughters. Humans are traded for tips and cam-to-cam chats. Thought to be innocent without realizing the cost of that secret moment.

Other ways of being trafficked beyond the everyday prostitution ring or webcam peep show is in the work force. Time and time again we read of businesses that are in trouble for underpaying their ’employees.’

There are business owners that hold their employees hostage for a debt owed. We see them as a factory worker, waitress or sales clerk. Meanwhile behind closed doors they succumb to verbal and physical abuse and neglect. Held against their will, their stories would give anyone chills.

There are signs that everyday people can watch out for in their own communities. These signs are ways of identifying possible victims of human trafficking. It is better to report a suspicious situation and be wrong than not report one that was right.

Unusual Behavior

  • Is uneasy, afraid, depressed, overly submissive, or excessively nervous
  • Panics at the mention of law enforcement even in social situations.
  • Head down no eye contact, very timid

Bad Health

  • Sickly with no medical treatment
  • Visible Bruising, Cuts and Scars
  • Signs of being tied up, or restrained against their will.

Living Conditions

  • Works long hours with no breaks allowed
  • Has little to no money, possessions or identification
  • Debts unusually high without the ability to pay
  • Unaware of location, verifiable address

Many people think that human trafficking is only the sex slavery trade. They also assume that it only impacts women and girls. In fact sex slavery is only a portion of the trade. There is also the case of labor exploitation. Sweat shops and other unpleasant work environments are provided for underpaid (if paid at all) workers. In addition women only make up 55 percent of the trafficked while men and boys make up 45 percent. Statistically speaking this is in fact everyone’s problem.

If you ever think you know or observed signs of human trafficking please contact the human trafficking hotline: National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1 (888) 373-7888

As we prepare to end the month, take a moment and pray for those that are lost in slavery. No matter what the circumstances, slavery or human trafficking should never be tolerated in any shape or form. Human trafficking is not a victim less crime and should never be ignored. To learn more about how you can help click here 



About Charles Johnston

Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.

2 Replies

  1. I live in Colorado and we recently had a stock show. I saw on the news that they saved kids from a trafficking ring that was going on at the show. I am unsure of the numbers but it was pretty shocking. I also saw a documentary recently called In Plain Sight that opened my eyes. People do not realize that this happens all the time and right in their back yards. It is great to get the work out about it!

  2. Thanks for bringing this subject to light.