While policies and tougher legislation are imperative to combat human trafficking, education is also essential in helping to eradicate this horrendous industry. It would be so satisfying if I could reach every family to educate how to protect their children against the predators of human trafficking; however, I do know this is not realistic. It is still my hope that by writing this one paper – I can reach at least one person and educate them on human trafficking. The terrifying thing is that in the beginning a victim may not even be aware that they are being trafficked. For example, you meet a guy and he gives you a lot of attention, treats your great and makes you fall for him. You think everything is perfect until he starts mentally abusing you. Making you question yourself and feel less than good enough, that he is superior to you and that you could never do better than him. He may pressure you to do things you are not comfortable with, and he takes pictures or video, saying you are so very beautiful and he loves you so much. He will then start to pimp you out. They are experts at manipulating and luring you into the trap of the human sex slave world.
Some other signs to look for of someone who may be a victim of human trafficking, according to www.michiganabolitionistproject.com are: evidence of being easily controlled, inability to move or leave job, being a runaway or homeless youth, a minor dating older man, possession of hotel room keys, poor medical health/ hygiene, tattoo branded of trafficker’s name, no passport or any other forms of personal identification and/or signs of physical abuse. If you feel that you or someone you know is being trafficked, you can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at (888) 373-7888. They will direct you and get you the care that you need any time of the day. If you believe someone is being trafficked here are some questions you can further ask them, also according to www.michiganbolitionistproject.com: are you free to come and go as you please? Has someone taken your passport or papers? Can you quit your job if you want? Do you owe your employer a considerable amount of debt? Have you been threatened or harmed? Are you being paid for work? Has someone told you that the police will harm you? Do you have to seek permission to eat, sleep and go to the restroom? If they ‘answer accordingly to being trafficked, you should reassure them that they are safe and no harm will come to them and then call the Nation Human Trafficking Resource Center and they will direct your call to the correct contact for assistance.
One local group that I have personal relations with is Michigan Abolitionist Project, also known as MAP. MAP is a non-profit organization that strives to “prevent and end modern slavery in Michigan communities and beyond through three focus areas: Community Engagement, Training, and Creative Initiatives.” (www.michiganabolitionistproject.com) Attached to this paper is a personal interview with the community group coordinator from the Michigan Abolitionist Project, Erin Oginsky. She explains the importance of the educational aspect in ending human trafficking. Erin also explains the warning signs if someone is being trafficked and what to do if you are. Along with my sister, Amber, Erin just returned home from Cambodia where they built a safe house for children who are being rescued from human trafficking. This is a place where they are safe, taken care of, loved and educated.
In conclusion, my goal through this paper is to spread awareness of human trafficking. I think it is safe to say that people in the United States are aware that human trafficking goes on in 3rd world countries, but what I desire from this paper is to raise awareness that human trafficking is just as much a problem here in the United States as it is overseas. The more people that are aware of the dangers for children and the signs to look for in victims, the greater our chance of ending human trafficking and creating a safe world for everyone.
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