Human Trafficking Awareness
It is estimated that California is amongst the top 3 states in the nation for human trafficking. By its very nature, human trafficking, in all of its forms, is largely hidden from view. This is due in part to the large immigrant communities, within California, which provide for good concealment of a trafficking operation - in many cases, these persons can be hidden in plain sight. Many of these communities are not trusting of law enforcement and tend to maintain cultural norms – some which dictate maintaining silence in the face of illegal enterprise.
The state’s extensive international border, its major harbors and airports, its powerful economy and accelerating population, its large immigrant population and its industries make it a prime target for traffickers. Apart from the harm that this crime causes its victims, the infrastructure that is necessary to support this heinous crime can serve the needs of terrorist wishing to smuggle themselves and/or dangerous weapons into the country.
Human Trafficking Awareness Resources:
- United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN-GIFT)
- U.S. State Department, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families
- Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships (HTAP)
10 Ways We Can Stop Human Trafficking in California:
1. Become Educated
Understanding human trafficking is the first step in addressing this global issue
- Be a part of a Human Trafficking Awareness Day in California in January and join activities that raise awareness of this issue. To learn more about the issue of human trafficking, visit www.HumanTrafficking.org.
2. Know Your Neighbors
Connecting with your neighbors allows you to be on the alert
- On Human Trafficking Awareness Day, get to know your neighbors, join a neighborhood watch program and get involved in community activities. To join or create a neighborhood watch program in your community, visit the National Neighborhood Watch Program at www.usaonwatch.org,
3. Recognize Good Samaritans
Most human trafficking victims survive because of people who take action to help.
- On Human Trafficking Awareness Day, profiles of good samaritans will be highlighted to pay tribute and honor those who have helped a human trafficking survivor. To share a good samaritan story, visit www.CaliforniaVolunteers.org.
4. Be Aware of the Law
Failing to report, employing or assisting in the employment of a victim of trafficking is against the law.
5. Know How to Act
Taking action if you suspect suspicious activity can save lives.
Human Trafficking Hotlines
- Trafficking in Persons Information and Referral Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Refugee Resettlement operates this hotline to provide referral information to help victims access services in their area.
- Trafficking in Persons & Worker Exploitation Task Force Hotline: 1-888-428-7581
The federal government has established the U.S. Department of Justice, Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force to respond to trafficking victims.
6. Pass it On
Sharing what you have learned will help to spread awareness.
7. Serve Your Community
Volunteering is a great way to make a difference and support survivors.
- Visit www.CaliforniaVolunteers.org and sign-up to volunteer at organizations that provide support, services, resources, and raises awareness of human trafficking.
8. Be a Voice for the Voiceless
Lend your voice, share your ideas and advocate for change.
- Write letters to the editor, lobby government for legislation and policy items and join the movement to end human trafficking.
- To learn more about current California legislation visit www.leginfo.ca.gov or contact your legislators by visiting www.assembly.ca.gov or www.sen.ca.gov.
- To learn about efforts on human trafficking, visit the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking at www.castla.org, Polaris Project at www.polarisproject.org or the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime at www.unodc.org, among many others.
9. Take a Stand
Curb the demand for products and services that promote human exploitation.
- Be an informed consumer to learn where your products come from in an effort to take a stand against industries that thrive on human trafficking. For example, you can visit www.wrapapparel.org to learn more about this effort.
10. Listen and Learn
Most victims of human trafficking didn't realize it could happen to them.
- An important step in combating human trafficking is listening first to the stories of survivors. Their stories can teach us how to better serve our vulnerable communities and reach at-risk populations. Be empowered to start your own journey to learn more about human trafficking and how together we can create change.