August 20, 2018

Our View: Human trafficking awareness a must in Michigan

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National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is observed every year on Jan. 11, and the whole month of January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Human trafficking is a new form of the oldest and worst type of exploitation, and while the month is meant to raise awareness, it is also meant to call citizens to action to help end the practice that hurts innocent victims all around the world.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against their will. Traffickers may use violence, threats, blackmail, false promises, deception, manipulation and debt bondage to trap vulnerable children and adults in these types of situations.

The Michigan State Police and community service troopers hold meetings around Michigan to speak to community members on the topic and inform others about ways they can look out for each other and themselves.

According to whitehouse.gov, an estimated 25 million people are currently victims of human trafficking for both sex and labor. According to humantraffickinghotline.org, Michigan alone received 470 calls in 2017 and 136 human trafficking cases reported.

There are many ways individuals can help end this crime and avoid falling into the trap as well.

Learn the indicators of human trafficking so you can help identify a potential trafficking victim. Human trafficking awareness training is available for individuals, businesses, first responders, law enforcement, educators and federal employees, among others through the MSP, the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force and many others.

You can always volunteer to support anti-trafficking efforts in your community. Potential ways to do this include hosting and organizing a fundraiser and donating the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization.

Another option is to meet with or write to your local, state and federal government representatives to let them know you care about combating the problem and ask what they are doing to address it.

Encourage your local schools to educate students on the issue and include modern slavery in their curricula. As a parent, educator or school administrator, be aware of how traffickers target school-aged children.

Be well-informed. Set up a web alert to receive current human trafficking news. Become familiar with public awareness materials available from the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Homeland Security.

If you or someone you know needs help, or to report a potential human trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s 24/7 toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or email nhtrc@polarisproject.org. Support is provided in more than 200 languages and all communication with the hotline is strictly confidential.

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StingyNina

Our schools SHOULD be having awareness meetings that include the students~ ALL students, ALL grades. You're never too young to learn to be aware of your surroundings. We live in a scary world today.

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