Stop Human Trafficking – What’s What Wednesday
Most people have heard of human trafficking, but many have no idea what it looks like and where it happens. Human trafficking is defined as modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Human Trafficking is the second largest money-making industry in the country, second only to the drug trade. This modern-day slavery affects more than 20.9 million people around the world today. Although there is no age limit on a victim of trafficking, the most vulnerable population of trafficked victims in the U.S. are ages 12 to 14 years old. The typical age of a trafficking victim sold into prostitution for the first time in the state of Florida is only 9 years old. Florida is ranked third in the nation for trafficking, following closely behind California and Texas. Florida has been identified as a top hub for trafficking activity, and therefore, has some of the highest incidences of human trafficking in the country.
Although there are several forms of recruitment that traffickers will use to attract American youth, one of the most popular forms in the United States is false employment offers. This includes but is not limited to modeling, waitressing, and house cleaning. Social media plays a major role in facilitating the process of recruitment and allows traffickers an easy access point in reaching youth across the country. Another recruitment method involves seduction. Many traffickers will take extreme measures, such as marriage, pregnancy, or long-term courtship to trick the victim into thinking they are loved however, it is not long before the victims are thrown into the trade and sold for sex and/or labor.
Human trafficking is a growing problem world-wide. It is extremely important to understand what this crime is and where it is happening. The dark truth is that it is happening right here, and many times, right in front of our face. The first step in combating this world-wide crime is to understand what contributes to the exploitation of children and teens. This includes understanding the individual factors, family factors, peer factors, and environmental factors. Human trafficking affects all sectors of our community and victims can be found in plain sight if we learn to identify the signs and factors that make children and teens more vulnerable to this type of victimization.
To read the full blog on the details on factors that contribute to human trafficking, please visit: http://sscc.center/whats-what-wednesday/
To request help or report suspected human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Or text HELP to: BeFree (233733).
If you or someone you know have been a victim of human trafficking, a licensed mental health professional may be able to help. For more information, please call Sunshine State Counseling Center at 239-495-7722.