There is a negative connotation that you cannot help human trafficking victims if you are not professionally trained or working for an anti-trafficking organization. The reality is that anyone can help human trafficking victims, no matter who you are or what you do for a living. Here is a list of nine ideas that anyone can do to help victims or people more likely to be trafficked.
- Learn the indicators of human trafficking by taking online training. Two free and easy training opportunities available to the public are OnWatch and Elite Foundation.
- Report suspicions of human trafficking to the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888. You can also text the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 233733.
- Do not approach an individual you feel is being trafficked as their trafficker may be nearby watching. Only come to them if you are alone in a safe place and you do not feel threatened.
- Build a safe and healthy relationship with the victim. This can allow them to feel safe to disclose information about their trafficker, the abuse they endured, and their personal needs. A great way to do this is by offering the victim a meal to build rapport with them.
- Make sure the victim knows that the abuse and hurt they are going through is not their fault. Give them positive reassurance, as this will benefit their healing process.
- Be aware of specific details about the situation. Some examples could be types of cars, license plates, identifiable clothing items, branding tattoos (barcodes, names/initials, currency), or distinct features. These could help law enforcement find victims of human trafficking or the traffickers.
- Respect the victim’s choices and be patient with them.
- Volunteer for anti-trafficking organizations to help those saved from human trafficking. Some examples of these organizations would be Hope for Justice, local shelters, etc.
- Educate yourself and others about human trafficking, learn what people are more vulnerable to trafficking, and take action on how to help those being trafficked.
The most important thing to remember is to be patient and respect the choices made by victims. Victims are allowed to change their minds, and making sure they are aware they are in control is essential. Absolutely anyone can do these nine things to help victims who have been trafficked and prevent new people from entering into human trafficking.