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National Human Trafficking Prevention Month: Safety Planning

In recognition of Human Trafficking Prevention Month, let us unite in raising awareness and fostering a collective commitment to combat and eradicate the scourge of human trafficking. Together, we strive to educate, empower, and take decisive actions to prevent and end the exploitation of vulnerable individuals, ensuring a world where freedom and dignity are upheld for everyone.



What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purpose of forced labor, sexual exploitation, or other forms of modern-day slavery. It is a grave violation of human rights and a serious criminal offense. Human trafficking can take various forms and involve different means of coercion, fraud, or force to exploit individuals.


Human trafficking is a global issue that impacts millions of individuals, especially women, children, and vulnerable populations being particularly at risk. Governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international bodies work together to combat human trafficking through prevention, prosecution of offenders, and protection and support for victims. Raising awareness, promoting education, and fostering cooperation at both local and global levels are essential in the battle against human trafficking.


Human Trafficking Indicators

Anyone holds the capacity to uncover instances of human trafficking. Although victims may be confined in some cases, they are frequently concealed in plain sight, existing in locations like construction sites, restaurants, elder care centers, nail salons, agricultural fields, and hotels. The traffickers use coercion, including threats of deportation and harm to the victim or their family, which makes it difficult for victims to seek help even when approached. By familiarizing yourself with the signs of human trafficking and asking follow-up questions, you can trust your instincts and take action by reporting any suspicious activity.


The following indicators serve as crucial red flags that may signal a potential trafficking situation warranting immediate reporting:


  • Living with employer

  • Poor living conditions

  • Multiple people in cramped space

  • Inability to speak to individual alone

  • Responses appear to be scripted and rehearsed

  • Employer is holding identity documents

  • Signs of physical abuse

  • Submissive or fearful

  • Unpaid or paid very little

  • Under 18 and in prostitution


Safety Tips

Prioritizing safety planning is crucial for individuals experiencing trafficking, in the transition phase of leaving, and post-exit. When working with potential victims of human trafficking or those considering suspicious jobs or relationships, it is crucial to take into account these safety planning tips. However, it's important to understand that although these suggestions can be helpful, we cannot guarantee an individual's safety or completely prevent trafficking. Safety planning should be tailored to each person's specific circumstances, as they are the ones who can best evaluate their current level of safety.


  • Trust your instincts: If a situation or individual causes discomfort, prioritize your intuition.

  • Inform a trusted friend or relative if you sense danger or encounter a suspicious person or situation.

  • Establish safety words with a reliable friend or relative; one word signifies it's safe to talk while alone, while a separate word indicates you are in an unsafe situation. Clearly communicate your preferences, such as ceasing communication, calling 9-1-1, or arranging a meeting.

  • Safeguard all essential documents and identification; your partner or employer should not withhold them without your consent.

  • Carry important contact numbers at all times, including the number of someone you trust in case of trouble.

  • Ensure constant access to communication tools, your bank account, and any necessary medication, either through a cell phone or phone card.

  • In immediate danger or emergencies, dial 9-1-1 as a first step.


Stay Informed

Being informed about human trafficking safety can help you respond when faced with a potentially dangerous situation. Above all, be mindful of your surroundings, trust your judgement, and do not be afraid to ask for help if you feel uncomfortable. It’s also important to have the contact information for your local law enforcement on hand - save it in your phone for easy access.


If you believe that you or someone else is in immediate danger, please call 911. It's crucial to recognize that you are not alone. Here are some valuable resources to provide support.


The Center for Sexual Assault Survivors Crisis Hotline:

757-236-5260

Tranisitions Family Violence Services Crisis Hotline:

757-723-7774

National Human Trafficking Hotline:

888-373-7888


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