An End to Trafficking: 5 Ways We Can Work Together to Stop Human Trafficking
You may have used biometric time clock systems in the workplace, but did you know this same technology is being applied to help fight human trafficking? Undocumented trafficking victims can be tracked by using photos obtained from their families and comparing these to biometric data gained when traffickers attempt to move them across borders. This is just one of many projects aimed at using advanced technology to find victims and break apart trafficking rings.
While you may not be able to take part in such projects, there are plenty of things you can do in your daily life to help combat this insidious underground industry. The following five tips are a great place to start:
1. Understand the risk factors
Knowing the risk factors for becoming a victim of human trafficking is the best way to protect yourself and those you love. Political instability, racism and other forms of prejudice, poverty, addiction, mental health problems, and gang involvement are the biggest risk factors. Victims can also be targeted online, so it’s important that you and your loved ones know about romance and sextortion scams and adopt cyber hygiene practices.
2. Learn about the indicators of human trafficking
Whether at work, on a night out, or while traveling, there’s a possibility that you may encounter a victim of trafficking in your day-to-day life. If you know the signs to look out for, you can alert the authorities and potentially save someone from a horrible fate.
If someone lives with their employer and/or lives in poor conditions with a lot of other people, this can be an indicator that something is wrong. If you see signs of physical abuse, the person appears fearful, and they’re not able to talk freely without their employer present, these are major red flags. Another more subtle sign to look out for is someone whose answers seem scripted or rehearsed.
3. Know who to contact if you suspect someone is in trouble
If you suspect you’ve encountered a human trafficking victim but don’t know who to contact, you may feel lost and helpless. So it’s important to pre-arm yourself with the numbers to call. In the US, your go-to should be 911 and the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
When traveling, make a point of noting down relevant phone numbers for authorities in the countries you visit. This is a good habit to get into anyway, as you never know when you may need emergency assistance. If in doubt, you should be able to obtain guidance from your embassy.
4. Become a mentor
If you’re passionate about preventing human trafficking, consider mentoring at-risk youth in your area. As a mentor, you can provide the support necessary to ensure vulnerable young people don’t slip into the clutches of traffickers. Doing so can be far easier than you think. Start by looking up mentoring programs in your area, find one that you know you can commit to, and get involved.
5. Be a conscious consumer
Trafficked victims are often forced to work for little or no remuneration, and the goods and services they produce may be up for consumption in your part of the world. From clothing and electronics to food and beauty services, these exploitative products and services are rife. So, take the time to research companies and industries before you purchase from them.
Keep these tips in mind as you navigate the world, and you may be able to play a small but pivotal role in putting an end to human trafficking.