Anti-Trafficking Awareness Beyond January
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month, by Presidential proclamation. As we leave January behind, it’s imperative that we continue the fight against modern day slavery. Being focused for one month is certainly a great step in the right direction to raise awareness, but that’s not enough. Human trafficking occurs every hour, every day: 365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months a year.
According to UNODC, the most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation, predominantly of women and girls. The second most common form (18%) is forced labor, though these cases are less frequently detected, and include women, girls, boys, and men. Almost one third of traffickers have been reported to be women, thus only about 70% of the perpetrators are men. It affects people of all ages, and shockingly 20% of the victims world-wide are children (under the age of 18).
Though most people tend to think of trafficking as solely an international (transnational) issue, trafficking in persons is a serious issue in the United States (both within and from other countries to the U.S.) as well. According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center 5,544 cases were reported in 2015 nation-wide. Most cases were reported in the state of California, which was followed by Texas and Florida.
You may think that trafficking is too big of an issue for one person to tackle, but everyone can contribute to combating it. Successful anti-trafficking efforts concentrate on the three P’s: prevention of future trafficking in person cases, protecting victims of trafficking in persons, and prosecuting traffickers. For further information, please visit https://www.usaid.gov/nepal/fact-sheets/combating-trafficking-in-persons-ctip.
Awareness campaigns- like the one celebrated throughout January- have surely brought positive changes and the numbers of cases have decreased, but not significantly enough. There is still a tough fight ahead - and everyone can make a difference. As EnCompass employee Crystal Cason discussed in a recent interview about the power of volunteer work, the key factor in helping to bring an end to such a large scale issue is the willingness of every citizen to engage in being a part of the solution.
If you see signs of human trafficking in your community, there are a number of ways to report cases and inform authorities:
- National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888
- Department of Homeland Security: Call 1-866-347-2423 (toll free); 1-802-872-6199 (non toll free international)
- Report online at www.ice.gov/tips
To learn more about the work EnCompass is doing around gender equality and human rights, we invite you to explore our growing gender portfolio, which includes work carried out under the USAID ADVANTAGE and AIDSFree mechanisms.