January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, which calls attention to the fact that human trafficking is modern day slavery. Millions of men, women and children are forced to provide labor or perform sex acts against their will. Many victims are forced into these situations through fraud or coercion – often enticed with the promise of love, attention, clothing, housing, money and more. According to the United States Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking generates billions of dollars worldwide, second only to drug trafficking.
The Salvation Army’s STOP-IT program helps survivors of trafficking leave their detrimental situation and start a new life. Survivors receive help with rent, utilities and food, counseling, job search assistance, life skills, referrals to other resources and more.
Society also needs to help combat human trafficking. Here are some ways you can stop trafficking in your community and throughout the nation.
How to combat labor trafficking
- Purchase items from local vendors
- Buy fair/direct trade items whenever possible
- Research production practices of companies from whom you purchase items and contact them to request a company statement/information on what the company is doing to prevent or combat human trafficking
- Ask that companies be held accountable for their supply chain practices
How to combat sex trafficking
- Do not purchase sex
- Talk about healthy relationships with children and youth in your life
- Discuss internet/social media safety with children and youth
- Support local youth providers/agencies – many organizations are already doing prevention work by helping youth develop skills, self-esteem, and resiliency without calling it prevention work
- Work to address existing community challenges that overlap with human trafficking: poverty, homelessness, other types of violence
If you think you may know someone who is a victim of human trafficking, call The Salvation Army’s STOP-IT program 24-hour resource hotline at 877.606.3158, 911 or your local police department. A Salvation Army STOP-IT outreach worker can provide further assistance for you and the victim.
For more information on human trafficking and how you can combat it, visit the STOP-IT website or call 877.275.6233.