Sex trafficking is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, including sexual slavery. Trafficking victims are women, men, boys and girls. At Ranch Hands Rescue, we believe there are five key ways you can help combat this form of modern day slavery.
1. Be Aware of the Signs
The first step is to know what to look for. You can complete a training through OnWatch (link below) to recognize all signs of trafficking, but a few key signs listed by the Department of Homeland Security include:
-Disconnection from loved ones
-Lack of attendance in school or work
-A dramatic change in behavior
-Sudden change of appearance, including designer clothes and jewelry
-Showing signs of mental or physical abuse
-Unexplained bruising or injuries
-Being fearful or submissive
-Carrying two or more cell phones
-Repetition of medical needs (i.e. repeated STIs or genital injuries)
-An abnormal relationship with someone who is older and very controlling
2. Report Suspicions
Once you know the signs of trafficking, you need to know how to report it in case you see it. In the United States, you can contact the 24/7 National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or by texting “HELP” to 233733. According to the C7 Human Trafficking Coalition, a seven county anti-trafficking group based in Denton County, Texas is 2nd in the United States for the most calls to this hotline. You can also call local authorities by dialing 911 in cases of emergency, or calling the non-emergency number to report suspected trafficking. When traveling abroad, make sure you know the human trafficking resources specific to the the area you will be traveling in.
3. Stop the Demand
Check where you are getting your products from by visiting www.responsiblesourcingtool.org or check out the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor. Both of these resources will help you ensure you are supporting businesses and companies that don’t promote trafficking. It is important to recognize that many victims of labor trafficking also experience some form of sexual abuse as well. Encourage companies to be transparent about their labor practices and to take steps to prevent human trafficking. Also, be sure to avoid subscribing to websites and apps that frequently harbor trafficking transactions, such as those listed in the graphic below.
4. Advocate for Awareness
One of the most important things you can do is advocate for awareness and change. Darkness grows in silence, and your voice can pierce that darkness to save a life. Below are a few ways to get involved:
-Volunteer with anti-trafficking groups
-Share vetted educational materials
-Write to your elected officials to support anti-trafficking legislation
-Stay informed and fight stigma
-Join a peaceful protest
-Educate your family and children on the dangers of trafficking both off and online
-Follow groups like Ranch Hands Rescue and C7 Human Trafficking Coalition on social media
5. Help survivors
You can help survivors by donating to groups, like Ranch Hands Rescue, that combat human trafficking and sex trafficking. You can also donate items like clothes and food to local shelters and safe houses, like Bob’s House of Hope. Hosting community fundraisers to raise awareness and monetary contributions for trafficking survivors is a great way to get others involved as well. According to OnWatch, only 1% of trafficking victims in the United States are identified, so just knowing the signs and supporting anti-trafficking organizations is already making a difference in helping survivors escape their trauma so they can heal.
“20 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking in 2020,” U.S. Department of State
“Indicators of Human Trafficking,” U.S. Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign
C7 Human Trafficking Coalition