Human Trafficking Myths
Human trafficking predators look for people with psychological or emotional vulnerabilities, but that’s not the only “criteria” they use. They also prey on people experiencing economic hardship, who lack a social safety net, those who have experienced trauma and people experiencing language barriers. According to U.S. Homeland Security, these criminals are so skilled at coercion and manipulation, the victims often don’t seek help or escape, even in highly public places.
Dispel these myths and help a victim:
MYTH: Human trafficking victims are only foreign born individuals and those who are poor.
TRUTH: Victims can be any age, race, gender or nationality. They may come from any socioeconomic group.
MYTH: Human trafficking victims will attempt to seek help when in public.
TRUTH: Human trafficking is a hidden crime. Victims may be afraid to come forward and ask for help. They often live under threats imposed by the trafficker and don’t want to put family and friend in danger either.
MYTH: Human trafficking is only sex trafficking.
TRUTH: Forced labor is another type of human trafficking. Sex and labor trafficking involve exploitation of people. Victims often are found in illegitimate businesses, massage parlors, restaurants, hotels and domestic service.
Key indicators can help save a life. Ask yourself these questions when you see someone whom you think might be in trouble:
- Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, church or community?
- Has a child stopped attending school?
- Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
- Is the person fearful, timid or submissive?
- Does the person appear to lack personal possessions and stable living conditions?
Ways you can help:
- Report suspected human trafficking to federal law enforcement at 866.347.2423.
- Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888.373.7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).
- Follow information and partnerships at Facebook/Human Trafficking Task Force.
- Visit Circuit 1 Trafficking at https://ir.uwf.edu/islandora/object/uwf:C1HTTF.
- Help is available from Lakeview Center Victim Services at 850.469.3800 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or at the 24-hour helpline: 850.433.7273.