HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS
Soroptimist International has adopted the elimination of sex trafficking of women and girls as one of its major initiatives. As a crime, it is second in profitability only to illicit drug dealing.
Human trafficking is a $9.8 billion per year enterprise in the U.S.
Roughly 300,000 underage girls being sold for sex in our country every year.
Worldwide, roughly 30 million people are being trafficked.
90% of trafficked victims are sexually assaulted.
Trafficking has been referred to as a hidden or “invisible” crime because victims are often too traumatized to seek help or even identify themselves as victims when questioned. We may unknowingly cross paths with victims anywhere.
They may be working as motel housekeepers, as nannies, as construction or agricultural workers.
They may work at massage parlors, nail salons, or mall kiosks. We may stand in line with them at truck stops or fast food places or large sporting events like the Super Bowl.
A common red flag is a young girl traveling with an older male, but UTIP lists several other indicators of possible human trafficking:
· 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?
· Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers?
· Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
· Does 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?
The Tip line for the Utah Human Trafficking in Persons (UTIP) Task Force is: 801-200-3443. Do not attempt to intervene yourself, as this may bring harm to the victim. Report the situation to the tip line or call 911.
Rehabilitation programs for victims—and it is important to know that they are victims, not criminals—have been established in Utah. They offer safe shelter, therapy, and employment counseling. Recovery may take from five years to a lifetime for these brutalized individuals, but with loving help, they can escape the life they have been forced into and find healing.