Human trafficking is an urgent issue that occurs in Ohio and around the world. Countless women and men are exploited for sexual purposes or forced labor. Individuals in these situations are likely to experience rape and other forms of sexual abuse. As serious as the situation is, it isn’t without hope. You can make a difference.
How You Can Help
As an everyday citizen, the most important thing you can do is learn to identify the signs of human trafficking. Reporting your suspicions by calling 911 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 could save lives.
You can also make a difference in your community by supporting anti-trafficking initiatives, writing to government representatives, and hosting events or fundraisers to raise awareness. Becoming a conscientious consumer and avoiding products made by forced labor can help encourage ethical behaviors by companies. Additionally, you can support OneEighty’s local efforts by donating here.
Identifying a Victim
So how can you recognize a human trafficking victim? The U.S. Department of State cites several common indicators, including someone who is living with their employer or with several people in a cramped area, someone who appears to provide rehearsed or scripted answers in conversation, or someone who is not allowed to speak to others alone and appears fearful or submissive. In these situations, employers often hold identity documents and don’t pay their “employees.” Underage individuals used in sex trafficking are often seen accompanying an older, unrelated adult.
If you believe you have encountered a victim of human trafficking, call law enforcement immediately or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Don’t wait. Prompt action could save a life.
While human trafficking continues to be a serious problem in Ohio and elsewhere, the simple actions of concerned citizens can literally save someone from a lifetime of abuse. Don’t be afraid to submit a tip if you see something suspicious.