In 2016 then President Obama, through Presidential proclamation designated January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. As per the International Labor Organization an estimated that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally, with hundreds of thousands of victims in the U.S. This is not just a female issue as both men and women can be victims of human trafficking. Often when people think of human trafficking, they only think about sexual slavery but there is more as some victims are trafficked for labor. Most have heard of stories of someone being held in servitude as a maid, nanny or house boy in America.

Slavery in any manner is inhumane and something that we must all address collectively. We have to know the signs of someone who is in a trafficking situation. Restrictive communication, lots of people residing in one house, deprivation of food, always accompanied by someone and not being able to communicate freely can be signs that someone is in a human trafficking situation.

What can we do to help? Try to interact with the person. Ask them a few questions if possible such as Can you come and go as you please? Has your identification been taken away from you? Do you have to ask permission to do the everyday things such as go to the bathroom, eat food, go outside, etc.? If someone answers yes to the above questions they may be a victim of trafficking. You can also call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1–888–373–7888 (a 24–hour, toll free crisis line) for assistance.

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