Several months ago, I stumbled upon an interview between Tony Robbins and Tim Ballard, a former government agent who abandoned his career to dedicate his life to liberating children from the clutches of global sex trafficking, my my heart was broken in pieces.
I have not been able to get the human trafficking narrative off my mind. Since I have a platform, I felt it necessary to educate more people about what’s happening across the globe and in every community in our nation. It’s sick and wrong and we all need to be aware of the danger.
Operation Underground Railroad
Harriet Tubman has always been a hero of mine. Like her, saving slaves and lives is what Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), is dealing with. The extreme darkness behind human trafficking is sickening.
In the past six years of existence, they have rescued 3,500 victims and assisted in the arrests of more than 1,500 traffickers around the world through coordinated rescue operations and recovery programs.
Shedding Light on Human Trafficking : Why Awareness Matters
The enthralling conversation in this podcast left me with a resolute decision—I had to learn more and go see the”Sounds of Freedom,” a movie inspired by Tim Ballard’s heroic mission to dismantle underground sex trafficking rings.
My mother and I just saw the Sound of Freedom movie last night. Yikes, i couldn’t sleep last night thinking about all the kids out there who are sex slaves.
The movie was produced in 2018 and when it was time to show the film, Netflix passed, Amazon passed. Every studio was worried about losing money. There were roadblocks everywhere. Surprised? Not me. People turn a blind eye to the world’s new slavery. It’s too hard for many to imagine that the darkness is hurting the most innocent humans.
Jordan Harmon, brother of Neal and co-founder of Angel Studios, told the Washington Examiner that in fewer than 10 days, some 7,200 people invested $5 million in a fund to get the movie “out into the world.” What a blessing!
It is said that human trafficking which is basically slavery, is the fastest growing crime in the world. Yes, I know, scary huh?
Human trafficking is a harrowing reality that persists even in the modern world. While it may seem distant and inconceivable, it’s crucial for everyone to be more aware of human trafficking in the United States. This clandestine crime exploits vulnerable individuals (most are young children), robbing them of their freedom and dignity. By raising awareness, we can take steps towards prevention, support survivors, and create a united front against this grave injustice.
What Is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a heinous crime that involves using force, deception, or coercion to exploit individuals for forced labor or commercial sex work. It’s essential to know that anyone under 18 engaged in commercial sex work is considered a trafficking victim by law.
Some shocking facts reveal the global extent of this issue. The International Labor Organization reported approximately 27.6 million victims of forced labor worldwide in 2022, with over 10,500 identified cases in the United States in 2020.
Human trafficking is slavery and knows no boundaries, affecting people of all nationalities, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and genders. Traffickers often exploit vulnerabilities arising from disasters, conflicts, or situations like the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the challenges in combating human trafficking is its covert nature. Victims may be too afraid to seek help, fearing retaliation from their traffickers or harm to their families. As concerned individuals, we can play a crucial role in spotting human trafficking and helping victims escape this nightmare.
“Our American culture is actually normalizing sexual behavior with children by, for example, trying to change the name of a pedophile to a minor attracted person, the stuff they’re giving children under the guise of sexual education,” Ballard said. “It’s a dangerous time for children.” Tim Ballard
1. Understand the Extent of The Problem
Awareness is the first step in combating human trafficking effectively. By being informed about the extent of the issue, we can grasp the gravity of its impact on society. Human trafficking occurs in various forms, such as sex trafficking, forced labor, and domestic servitude. Contrary to popular belief, it is not limited to specific demographics, affecting people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.
2. Identifying the Signs of Human Trafficking
By being aware of the signs of human trafficking, we can become proactive in identifying potential victims and reporting suspicious activities. Signs may include unexplained injuries, lack of personal belongings, fear or anxiety, restricted communication, and living under the control of others. Recognizing these indicators empowers us to act swiftly and potentially save lives.
By being aware of these signs and staying vigilant, we can contribute to the fight against human trafficking and create a safer world for everyone.
Signs Of Children who have been trafficked:
Have no access to their parents or guardians
Look intimidated and behave in a way that does not correspond with behaviour typical of children their age
Have no friends of their own age outside of work
Have no access to education
Have no time for playing
Live apart from other children and in substandard accommodations
Eat apart from other members of the “family”
Be given only leftovers to eat
Be engaged in work that is not suitable for children
Travel unaccompanied by adults
Travel in groups with persons who are not relatives. The following might also indicate that children have been trafficked:
The presence of child-sized clothing typically worn for doing man- ual or sex work
The presence of toys, beds and children’s clothing in inappropriate places such as brothels and factories
The claim made by an adult that he or she has “found” an unaccompanied child
The finding of unaccompanied children carrying telephone numbers for calling taxis
The discovery of cases involving illegal adoption
Red Flags For All Ages For Human Trafficking
Living with employer
Poor living conditions
Multiple people in cramped space
Inability to speak to individual alone
Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed
Employer is holding identity documents
Signs of physical abuse
Submissive or fearful
Unpaid or paid very little
Under 18 and in prostitution
Person has physical injuries or branding such as name tattoos on face or chest, tattoos about money and sex, or pimp phrases.
Multiple phones or social media accounts.
Signs of unusual wealth without explanation—new jewelry, shoes, phones without any known form of income.
Person lives in a “massage” business or is not free to come and go.
Be distrustful of the authorities
Be threatened with being handed over to the authorities
Be afraid of revealing their immigration status
Not be in possession of their passports or other travel or identity documents, as those documents are being held by someone else
Have false identity or travel documents
Be found in or connected to a type of location likely to be used for exploiting people
Have no choice of accommodation
Never leave the work premises without their employer
Be unable to move freely
Be subject to security measures designed to keep them on the work premises
Be disciplined through fines
Be subjected to insults, abuse, threats or violence
- Lack basic training and professional licences.
- Call the toll-free (24/7) National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888 (1-888-373-7888).
- Text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).
- Submit a tip online at http://www.traffickingresourcecenter.org/.
- Call toll-free (24/7) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at 1-866-347-2423.
- Submit a tip online at http://www.ice.gov/tips.
- If a child is in urgent need of assistance, contact law enforcement or child protective services to report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child. Contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline to speak to professional crisis counselors who can connect a caller with a local number to report abuse: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).
- Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
- Report incidents at http://www.cybertipline.org.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families Services: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/resource/services-available-to-victims-of-human-trafficking
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Blue Campaign, Victim Assistance Resources: http://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/victim-centered-approach
- U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, Funded Service Providers List: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/grants/traffickingmatrix.html
- The National Human Trafficking Resource Center provides an interactive map, which includes in-depth local information and resources.
If you see something or have a tip call:
If you are a human trafficking victim or have information about a potential trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.
To report an immediate emergency: Call 911 or contact your local police department or emergency access number.
To report suspected trafficking crimes, get help, or learn more about human trafficking from a nongovernmental organization
To report suspected human trafficking crimes or to get help from law enforcement:
To report sexually exploited or abused minors:
To learn more about services for victims:
To learn about state and local resources
We Need To Stop This Crime!
Human trafficking is a grave injustice that plagues the United States and demands our immediate attention. By being more aware, we can empower ourselves and others to take action against this crime. Together, we can build a society that protects the vulnerable, supports survivors, and works tirelessly to eradicate human trafficking from our midst. Let us unite in our commitment to raise awareness and make a lasting difference in the lives of those affected by this unconscionable act.