Here in Louisville every year around Derby time, we hear a lot about “Human Trafficking.” But, what is Human Trafficking exactly? According to the Department of Homeland Security, Human Trafficking is the exploitation of a person through coercion, force, or fraud in order to obtain sex, forced labor, or domestic servitude. Human Trafficking happens everywhere and involves any nationality, age, gender, or socioeconomic status. Simply put, it is modern-day slavery. You can spot possible Human Trafficking by knowing the indicators.
· The person may appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship.
· School attendance ceases.
· A sudden or dramatic change in behavior
· A juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts.
· Disorientation and confusion, or signs of mental or physical abuse.
· Bruises in various stages of healing.
· Fearful, timid, or submissive behavior.
· Signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care.
· The person is often in the company of someone who seems to be in control
· The person appears to be coached on what to say.
· The person is living in unsuitable conditions.
· The person lacks personal possessions and appears not to have a stable living situation.
· Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Does there appear to be unreasonable security measures?
The presence or absence of any of these indicators is not proof of a human trafficking situation, but many of these signs are a good reason to investigate further. Please refer to the Department of Homeland Security for more resources and information concerning human trafficking on their Blue Campaign website, https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign Keep your eyes open, stay sober and informed.
To report suspected human trafficking: 1-866-347-2423
To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733)