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Human Trafficking Awareness month commences

Posted on Wednesday, January 24, 2024 at 3:54 pm

LACIE SILVA – Editor

Nationwide people are reminded in this month to be aware of the warning signs of human trafficking and to raise the awareness in January as Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

January is recognized as Human Trafficking Prevention Month, a designation by the President aimed at educating the public about human trafficking and encouraging their involvement in preventing and addressing this issue. Since 2010, each year, the President has dedicated January to increase awareness and understanding of human trafficking, emphasizing the importance of identifying and preventing this crime. The U.S. Department of State actively participates in this awareness campaign, extending its impact both domestically and internationally through U.S. embassies and consulates. Throughout the month, the collective efforts of foreign governments, international organizations, law enforcement, survivor advocates, faith communities, businesses, and individuals worldwide are celebrated for their commitment to raising awareness about human trafficking.

Over 20 years ago, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) was enacted, solidifying the United States’ dedication to combating human trafficking both domestically and internationally. In 2010, President Obama officially designated January as “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month” through a presidential proclamation, initiating an annual tradition that subsequent presidents have continued. Last January, President Biden reiterated this commitment by proclaiming it as “National Human Trafficking Prevention Month.” This proclamation underscores the nation’s resolve to protect and empower survivors, prosecute traffickers, and eradicate human trafficking globally. Activists emphasize the disproportionate impact of human trafficking on various marginalized communities, linking the anti-trafficking mission with broader efforts to advance equity and justice throughout society.

Human trafficking, encompassing forced labor and sex trafficking, poses a multifaceted threat, jeopardizing international peace, security, and the rule of law. This pervasive issue not only deprives millions of their dignity and freedom but also fuels the enrichment of transnational criminals and terrorists, presenting a menace to public safety and national security globally. The staggering estimate of over 27.6 million people, both adults and children, enduring human trafficking underscores the gravity of this problem, with the United States not exempt from its reach. Exploiting instability induced by natural disasters, conflicts, or pandemics, traffickers continue to perpetrate their crimes. Even amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, traffickers display adaptability, innovating their methods to capitalize on the resulting chaos.

As a hub of several connection points of interstates and highways, Marion County is particularly susceptible to trafficking. All persons should be aware of the warning signs and speak up if something is not right or suspicious.

Five warning signs of human trafficking include:

  1. Appearing malnourished
  2. Showing signs of physical injuries and abuse
  3. Avoiding eye contact, social interaction, and authority figures/law enforcement
  4. Seeming to adhere to scripted or rehearsed responses in social interaction
  5. Lacking official identification documents

Call federal law enforcement directly to report suspected human trafficking activity and get help: U.S. Department of Homeland Security at 1-866-347-2423 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, or submit a tip online at www.ice.gov/tips. For urgent situations, notify local law enforcement immediately by calling 911.

The Marion Tribune – January 18, 2024