SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Department of Homeland Security and local Utah organizations are sharing the signs of human trafficking to watch for, that could potentially save a life.
According to the Department of Homeland Security website, the “Blue Campaign” is “a national public awareness campaign, designed to educate the public, law enforcement and other industry partners to recognize the indicators of human trafficking, and how to appropriately respond to possible cases.”
The Utah Transit Authority shared an infographic from the DHS on the signs to look out for in human trafficking suspects and victims as part of their “Be The One” campaign in Utah’s fight against human trafficking
The infographic points out that human trafficking suspect will often:
-Avoid eye contact or interaction with others
-Show signs of malnourishment, poor hygeine, fatigue, sleep deprivation , untreated illness, injuries and/or unusual behavior
-Have no control over or possession of money or ID
DHS says human trafficking victims will often:
–Exhibit evidence of verbal threats, emotional abuse, and/or being treated in a demeaning way
-Have a new instant love that lavishes me with gifts
-Show signs of physical abuse, restraint, and/or confinement
-Lack freedom of movement or are constantly monitored
UTA, in partnership with the Asian Association of Utah, points out that Utah’s geographic positioning near crossroads to the western United States makes it a likely target for thousands of human trafficking victims to be moved throughout the state.
According to the UTA, human trafficking is a $32 billion per year industry, with $9.5 billion of that coming from the United States. This makes it the second most profitable form of transnational crime, coming second to only drug trafficking.
There are two different types of human trafficking, the UTA explains, sex trafficking, which involves victims performing commercial sex through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, and labor trafficking, in which victims are forced to perform labor or services through the threat of force, fraud or coercion.
The UTA and Asian Association of Utah also points out that there are several risk factors that put a victim at risk of human trafficking, the main ones including:
- Substance Use
- History of sexual abuse/assault
- Child abuse/neglect (DEC)
- Juvenile Justice or Foster Care
- Mental health problems
- Domestic violence
- Displaced persons (refugee/immigrant)
As part of UTA’s “BE THE ONE” campaign, the UTA and the Asian Association of Utah are encouraging people to be the ones to report human trafficking, support victims of human trafficking, and take action against human trafficking
Here is what you can do to report human trafficking:
- Do not at any time attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to your suspicions.
- Call 911 for emergency situations – threats of violence, physical assault, emergency medical needs, etc.
- If you are a victim of forced labor or commercial sex or concerned that someone may be, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888; Text “BEFREE” to 233733; or Live Chat at humantraffickinghotline.org. The hotline is 24-hour live answer service with language access.
- Utahans can also report suspected human trafficking to the Utah Human Trafficking Tip line at 801-200-3443. The 24-hour tip line is run by the Utah Attorney General’s Office and answered by a voicemail machine. Note: Not intended for emergencies. Leave message and you will be contacted.
- When making a report give as much detail as possible.
Here’s what you can do to support victims of human trafficking:
- Contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888; Text “BEFREE” to 233733; or Live Chat at humantraffickinghotline.org.
- Contact the Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Program at the Asian Association of Utah (AAU) at 801-467-6060 or firstname.lastname@example.org . AAU’s TIP program is Utah’s largest and only federally funded program specifically tailored to serve victims of all forms of human trafficking regardless of age, gender, and immigration status. They provide victim-centered case management, wraparound victim assistance, education, and outreach.
- Visit antitrafficking.aau-slc.org for information on additional service providers serving trafficking victims in Utah, to search the general service directory by zip code, and learn ways to get involved in combating human trafficking locally.
Here’s what you can do to take action to combat human trafficking:
- Volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts in your community.
- Meet with or write to your local, state, and federal elected officials to let them know you care about combating human trafficking and ask what they are doing to address it.
- Be well-informed. Set up a web alert to receive current human trafficking news.
- Organize a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization.
- Use your social media platforms to raise awareness about human trafficking, using the following hashtags: #endtraffickingutah or #betheoneutah. Follow local, state, and national anti-trafficking social media accounts.
- Become a mentor to a young person or someone in need.
Click here to find out more ways to get involved in the fight against human trafficking.