The prevention of human trafficking is not a job for a single organization or particular law enforcement group. Rather, it is a group effort. The ongoing fight requires all sorts of individuals from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels, as there are many different ways to prevent human trafficking, and many things you can do on your own.
When it comes to preventing human trafficking, it is important to note that there are many methods of prevention which are valid and crucial. From reporting suspicious activity to donating to organizations that take a hands-on approach to simply being aware of the warning signs and lending a shoulder or ear to a potential victim, there are many ways to prevent human trafficking.
Understand the Fight
As mentioned, there are many moving parts to human trafficking prevention, and it is important to be aware of how these parts interact with each other. In order to fully understand what this battle entails, it is necessary to understand some of the basics of human trafficking itself and dispel some of the misconceptions.
For instance, you shouldn’t think of human trafficking (or more specifically, human traffickers) as some mysterious back-alley network. The reality is that human trafficking is a business enterprise that relies on a basic supply and demand structure to operate. This is a scary notion, and is likely startling to those who are unfamiliar with the trafficking business. The human trafficking triangle is a simple and easily digestble representation that shows the relationships between the buyer (who provides money and creates demand), the trafficker (supplies demand by exploiting individuals), and the victims (who are sold as commodities).
This relationship demonstrates that the victim is also the product. And these victims are not always lured into unmarked vehicles or drugged and taken against their will. Many of them are led astray by a manipulative trafficker and led to believe they have an opportunity for economic or social gain. These false promises create a relationship based on coercion, manipulation, and dependency. And the most troubling part is that the victims have no idea what they are getting themselves into.
And the purpose of trafficking victims is not always for sex, which is a common notion. Essentially, instead of thinking of human trafficking as a solely sex-driven enterprise run by billionaires, think of it more simply for what it is—modern slavery. Forced labor is still common in many forms, and victims of human trafficking are experiencing this every day. This means everything from child labor in some countries outside of the United States to forced work in the hospitality industry.
Once you understand the range of human trafficking, you can better understand the fight against it, and how many roles it takes to prevent human trafficking. However, it is important to not be burdened by the magnitude of effort required. It’s true that the fight requires many different participants, but as more and more organizations join the fight and more individuals become aware of the real problem at hand, this fight to prevent human trafficking is not just a noble idea, but a firm force against evil in this world.
Human trafficking is a horrible crime, but it is a tangible problem that has solutions and resources to help. To put it simply, the fight to prevent human trafficking is as real as the threat of human trafficking, and the bottom line is that human traffickers do not constantly have the upper hand.
What You Can Do
You are far from hopeless in this fight, and the more individuals who lend a hand, the closer this world is to preventing human trafficking once and for all. This help could come in the form of donating, for example. Organizations all over the world are utilizing resources and spreading truths and awareness about human trafficking, but these organizations rely on money to operate. Donating to organizations fighting to prevent human trafficking will go a long way in this fight, as these organizations know how to use this money wisely, and can implement it in ways that will be the most effective.
You could also volunteer with one of these organizations or facilities. For example, some organizations out there spread information and awareness about the problem, while others provide support (legal as well as emotional) to survivors of human trafficking. These organizations need all the help they can get, and depending on your skillset, you might be better suited for some types of volunteer work over others.
Be aware of the warning signs of human trafficking, and understand that some individuals are more vulnerable to human trafficking than others. For instance, people who are more vulnerable to human trafficking tend to share some factors, such as:
- Histories of past violence
- Struggles with substance abuse disorders
- Displaced from their home, either because of disaster, poverty, or migration
- Targeted as a minority due to sexual or gender identity
This is not an exhaustive list of vulnerabilities, but they are common, and you can be proactive by understanding that these factors are real. Additionally, there are signs that might indicate that human trafficking might be taking place. For instance, some common warning signs are:
- Strong dependency issues
- Bruises, scarring, or even branding marks
- No control over personal money, identification, passport, etc.
- Requiring permission to perform simple tasks, such as going to the bathroom
Again, this isn’t a full or foolproof list of factors, but knowing them will help you stay better armed in the fight to prevent human trafficking.
Trust the Professionals
Not everyone who fights to prevent human trafficking is a law enforcement official, nor are they affiliated with organizations who rely on sharing information and hunting down predators. However, these people are still incredibly necessary to preventing human trafficking. Whether it is a tip shared with law enforcement authorities, a bit of information that can aid in the prosecution of criminals, or helping spread stories of survivors, there are many roles you can take in the ongoing fight to prevent human trafficking.
Join the fight today to prevent human trafficking once and for all.