Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that affects millions of people around the globe each year. Data from The Polaris Project, operator of the U.S. Human Trafficking Hotline, revealed 11,500 victims and survivors called the hotline in 2019, a 20% increase over the previous year and likely only a fraction of the number of people trapped in these situations.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking happens when a perpetrator or trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to obtain a type of labor or a sex act from the victim.
The DHS says victims don’t often seek help because of language barriers, fear of their traffickers and/or fear of law enforcement.
“[Traffickers] look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters or political instability,” DHS added. “The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.”
Polaris Project says people of color and members of the LGBTQ community are more vulnerable to human trafficking than other demographics due to generational trauma, historic oppression, discrimination, lack of resources and other societal factors. People with unstable living situations, a history of domestic violence, undocumented immigrants and people addicted to drugs and alcohol are similarly vulnerable to human trafficking.
January is #HumanTraffickingAwarenessMonth. “Our mission to combat human trafficking must always be connected to our broader efforts to advance equity & justice in our society.” – President Biden. Read the full White House proclamation here: https://t.co/Vt7Ldh4cXv
— Polaris (@Polaris_Project) January 4, 2022
Human Trafficking Awareness
To raise awareness around the millions of people trapped in human trafficking situations, the DHS recognizes January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in the U.S., with Jan. 11 marking National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, or #WearBlueDay.
DHS’ “Blue Campaign” is an initiative created to “educate the public, law enforcement and other industry partners to recognize the indicators of human trafficking, and how to appropriately respond to possible cases.”