By Cara Beth Lewis
Human trafficking is a crime in which force, fraud or coercion is used to compel a person to perform labor, services or commercial sex. It affects all populations: adults, children, men, women, foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, and all economic classes, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Anyone can be affected by these dangerous and extensive crimes – so it is important to raise awareness and spread knowledge in the fight against it.
While victims of human trafficking have their life stolen and sold and are mistaken for criminals, the crime of human trafficking is at the hands of those who are making money from these horrible actions. According to the USDOD:
$99 billion per year is made from sex trafficking.
4.5 million people worldwide are victims of forced sexual exploitaition.
$51 billion per year is made from the use of forced labor.
21 million people worldwide are now victims of forced labor.
1 in 6 runaways reported in the U.S. are likely to become sex trafficking victims.
20% of human trafficking victims are children.
On December 30, 2021, President Joe Biden made a proclamation on Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In the proclamation he stated, “During National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we reaffirm our commitment to protect and empower survivors of all forms of human trafficking, to prosecute traffickers, and to bring an end to human trafficking in the United States and around the world.”
Upon proclaiming January 2022 as Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, he ended with this statement: “I call upon businesses, civil society organizations, communities of faith, families, and all Americans to recognize the vital role we play in combating human trafficking, and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities aimed at preventing all forms of human trafficking.”
To read the full proclamation, click here: A Proclamation on National Human Trafficking Prevention Month – January 2022 .
While the entire month of January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, tomorrow, January 11th, is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Blue Campaign is a national public awareness campaign designed 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. Blue Campaign works closely with DHS Components to develop general awareness trainings, as well as specific educational resources to help reduce victimization within vulnerable populations, according to dhs.gov.
On January 11th, Blue Campaign hosts #WearBlueDay. Dhs.gov says, “To raise awareness of human trafficking, we invite the public to take photos of themselves, friends, family, and colleagues wearing blue clothing and share them on social media – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – along with our #WearBlueDay hashtag. Anyone can participate, all you need is a piece of blue clothing!”
If you suspect human trafficking, please contact:
Department of Defense Inspector General Hotline: 1-800-424-9098
National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1-888-373-7888