Do you know the signs of someone trapped in human trafficking?
Well, you're about to.
I read an article today titled ‘The Slave Across The Street: How Human Trafficking Is Hidden In Plain Sight.’ The article tells the story of a women who moved into an upper-class Detroit neighborhood as a teen and found herself getting trafficked at 15 years old.
It’s easy to be skeptical when you hear things like this, but human trafficking is actually much easier to get into then you would think. We might actually know someone involved right now. Scary, huh?
The woman in the article accepted a ride home from the cute boy in her class. She thought he liked her, she was flattered, she got in the car to accept the ride. Once in the car, he managed to drug her, rape her, took photos of her, threatened to show them to her dad and his boss if she didn’t ‘earn’ the photos back by performing sex acts with any man he assigned. This went on for a long time. Sometimes she would service 4-10 men in a night.
This made me think, would I see the signs if they were right in front of me?
No. No, I would not. I figured you might not either, so I put together a list of things to look for if you suspect someone might be in danger.
Victims of human trafficking may display these behaviors or traits:
- Unexplained absence
- Signs of physical abuse (bruises, buts, burns, etc.)
- Seems like they may be in a controlling relationship where they’re not free to come and go as they please
- Overly sexualized behavior (more than before)
- Withdrawn from relationships, appears distant, anxious depressed or absent from the current situation
- Flaunts expensive gifts and brags about the money they earn
- New tattoos (that seem unexplained, unusual or gang affiliated)
- New friends, boyfriend, and lifestyle
- Avoids eye contact
- Fears police
Pimps and traffickers typically exhibit the following behavior and traits:
- Controlling, violent, manipulative, and/or jealous
- Significantly older
- Make promises that seem too good to be true (i.e. a job, fame, opportunity) and encourage illegal behavior while pursuing the ‘dream’
- Showers the victim in expensive gifts so they feel like they owe it to the trafficker to stay
- Pushes sex in any and all situations
The signs can be obvious, or only slight. Regardless, ALWAYS ask questions, ALWAYS take a second look, and ALWAYS risk looking like a total idiot to potentially save someone’s life.
If you think you may know someone involved, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888
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