In 2010, President Obama declared January as, “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.” Every year since the current president follows suit. Recently President Biden announced that January is, “National Human Trafficking Prevention Month.” So in order to do our part in helping prevent human trafficking, here are some tips for keeping yourself and your friends safe against Human Trafficking.
In order to stay safe from human trafficking, it is important to know if you are your friend are at risk. There are many red flags to look for, but here are some of the most common ones from the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
- If you or someone you know is recently given expensive gifts or money from a relationship with a large gap in age or financial status.
- If you or someone you know who often runs away from home is staying with someone who is not their legal guardian.
- If you or someone you know has a close relationship with someone solely on social media.
Of course none of these indicate a future victim of human trafficking for certain, but always make sure you are careful. Even if you know human trafficking when you see it, that doesn’t mean you can stay safe. So here are some more tips for protecting yourself and your friends.
- Always keep any necessary medication and a form of communication on you at all times.
- 55 Set up safe words with your loved ones. One word can mean it is safe to talk, while another means that you are not safe. (Also make sure you can make it clear what they should do, call 911, pick you up, etc.).
- Add your friends and family on apps like Life 360 to make sure your loved ones know where you are, and if you don’t want your parents stalking you, you can just add close friends.
- 1-888-373-7888 is the number for the human trafficking hotline.
- Here on campus you can go to any trusted adult for help, but specifically Alli Cortes, District Youth Outreach Worker, works with students that are struggling with the issues, who you can email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at (805) 705-4973.
Many people fall into the trap of thinking that something like this would not happen to them, that the chance of it being you and not anyone else is so small, and that there is no reason to use safety precautions. But this is not true. For example, accounting to the State of California Department of Justice, California had the highest number of human trafficking victims out of all fifty states. Minors are more likely to be victims than adults, and women are much more likely to be harmed than men. So just know that you are at risk, and being safe is very important and very little work. Finally, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to simply trust your instincts. If at first glance something seems unsafe, then it just might be.