Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day 2020.
At Thistle Farms we believe that recognizing the signs that a person might be a victim of human trafficking is the most important tool in helping save lives. There are so many secrets in the trafficking world and being able to see the truth helps to pave the pathway of freedom. Being knowledgable regarding what symptoms and behaviors to look for in potential victims makes each of us a part of the solution to this devastating public health and safety crisis.
The following indicators compiled by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are often present in cases of human trafficking; however, the presence of an indicator isn’t proof someone is a trafficking victim, and not all of the indicators are always present in human trafficking cases.
*Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
*Has a child stopped attending school?
*Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
*Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
*Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
*Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
*Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
*Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
*Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
*Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
*Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
*Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
*Does the person have freedom of movement?
*Can the person freely leave where they live, or are there unreasonable security measures?
The trauma caused by traffickers can be so profound that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings. The safety of the public as well as the victim is paramount. Do not attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to any suspicions. Although we can be the eyes and ears of our communities, it is the responsibility of law enforcement to investigate suspected cases of human trafficking.