By Presidential proclamation, January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month. This past summer, Angel Studios took the world by storm with their movie Sound of Freedom. This film tells the story of Tim Ballard and his mission to rescue children from sex traffickers in Columbia. It was the ninth highest-grossing film of 2023 in the United States and Canada.
Tim Ballard’s story is incredibly inspiring, but most of us are not in a position to rescue children from South America like he did. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has provided a list of ways that we can help prevent human trafficking without having to leave the country.
There are several circumstances that raise flags when it comes to identifying people who are at risk of being trafficked. This includes things like unstable living situations, poverty, and substance abuse. You can read the full list of signs here.
If you think that someone is a victim of human trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Whether it is as simple as sharing the information with your children or sharing information on social media, it’s important that people are aware of the risk factors and resources available for trafficking victims.
The Department of Labor has compiled a document that helps you identify goods produced by child or forced labor. You can find that document here. On the other side, you can look for businesses that work to end human trafficking. Fair trade businesses offer safe working conditions and fair wages for workers, often in countries where safe employment opportunities are limited. In addition to this, there are businesses that intentionally support individuals who have been victims of trafficking.
There are a number of nonprofits across North Carolina that are working to help end human trafficking and support its victims. Reach out to them and see how you can get involved in the work they are doing.
Here are just a few of them to get started:
Human trafficking is a tragic reality. There were an estimated 27.6 million people in 2022 in forced labor worldwide, including both physical and sexual abuse. In 2021, there were over 10,000 identified human trafficking cases involving over 16,000 victims in the United States alone. Furthermore, North Carolina currently ranks number nine for the highest rates of human trafficking out of the fifty states. While this ranking is in line with North Carolina being the ninth most populated state, it is still cause for much concern.
In an interview on Family Policy Matters, Shawna Pagano, a leader in the human trafficking prevention movement in North Carolina, shared, “Responding to human trafficking takes a collaborative effort. It really does take all facets of the community working together.”