Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90
Lately, I have been seeing a lot of articles in the news involving human trafficking. I have even heard it mentioned a few times at my internship at Care House. I have not been personally affected, but this is something that can happen to anyone and anywhere. My goal is to raise more awareness about the topic. Human trafficking is such a big problem today, even in the South Eastern part of Michigan. As being a resident in the South Eastern part of Michigan here are some safety tips and resources that you and your family should know about.
The Department of Homeland Security defines human trafficking as modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.
There are three types of human trafficking:
- Sex trafficking- Victims are manipulated or forced against their will to engage in sex acts for money.
- Forced labor- Victims are forced into doing labor, such as factories, construction, farms, and etc.
- Domestic servitude- Victims of domestic servitude are used as nannies, maids, and domestic help against their will.
Every year in the United States THOUSANDS of human trafficking cases are reported, but many more go unnoticed. Human trafficking is a hidden crime.
Safety tips for kids:
- Know your name, address, and phone number
- Never agree to meet with someone you don’t know without talking to a trusted adult first
- Be aware of surroundings
- Communicate safety plans with your kid
- Educate yourself and your child or children on the issue
- Learn the signs
- Be active in your child’s life
- Be careful with social media requests
There are many risks of child sex trafficking. According to an article from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, “Child sex trafficking experiences can lead to sexual, physical, and emotional injuries and severe lifelong health, social, educational, legal, and economic problems for survivors. Survivors experience significant traumatic stress symptoms, as well as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, unplanned or forced pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, malnutrition, suicide and self-injury, incarceration, social isolation, school drop-out, unemployment, and re-victimization”.
Right around the corner we have an agency that helps women and children who have been affected by human trafficking. In Wayne County, there is a place called Vista Maria.
Vista Maria is a place where women and children are able to go to when they have suffered the effects of human trafficking.
Through Vista Maria, there are specialized treatment programs, community based programs, schooling, and foster care options available.
According to the website, “Perpetrators prey on the weak including teens that have dropped out of school, are in the foster system or have run away from home. Human trafficking is a highly profitable ad low risk crime. Traffickers target anyone, including children in their own communities.”
If you are homeless, have aged out of the system, or if you have nowhere to go, Vista Maria has connection to the Shepherd Hall Transitional Living Program. The program helps individuals that are in need of housing for an affordable price. They provide 12-18 months that encourage the individual to become independent and financially stable.
Angela Aufdemberge, the President & CEO of Vista Maria is sitting down to discuss the topic of Human Trafficking. The link is https://youtu.be/Fd1AfsrakxM
You are also available to volunteer at this center. There are one-on-one opportunities, group/corporate volunteering, support or host an In-Kind Drive, student internships and field placement, and holiday programs.
I encourage parents to be knowledgeable on this topic. If your child is ready, discuss this topic with them and make sure they are aware of the dangers.
To report suspected human trafficking: 1-866-347-2423
To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733)
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-531-5151
Wayne County: firstname.lastname@example.org - 1-800-7.VISTA.6
Address for Vista Maria: 20652 West Warren Avenue, Dearborn Heights, MI 48127
If you are using a computer, here is one way you can get involved without even moving! On the Polaris Project’s website you can go look for the tab that says “Get Involved”. After clicking on it you will be lead to a petition. It is to pass “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Today” act. https://act.polarisproject.org/page/16100/action/1
I signed it, will you?