Do you know what the fastest growing arm of organized crime is? If you said, “human trafficking,” you’d be right. I, for one, would like to see this arm broken, wouldn’t you? For more information and statistics on human trafficking click here.
It’s a global problem; and with modern day slavery reaching its tentacles into every geographical, economical, and societal sphere of America, we see that it’s no respecter of persons. This evil arm could strike at anyone, anywhere, and at any time, regardless of race, color or religion. It knows no bounds; it could even reach its ugly arm into your neighbor’s home– or your own.
If we want to “break the arm” of this evil enterprise, we need to pray for those involved (victim, user and trader alike), become more aware of the problem and make others aware as well. Let’s share the truth of the gospel with those we meet because Jesus is the One who truly sets people free. John 8:36 tells us, “If the Son [Jesus] therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
What can you do?
Grab a hold of that arm! Check into your state’s legislation regarding human trafficking. Call your Senators and Representatives either in support of current proposed legislation or ask them to introduce bills which would take a stronger grip on this crime. Get involved!
Here are just two of the 19-bills which have been introduced in Michigan to get a grip on the arm of human trafficking. SB 584 would eliminate the statute of limitations for any human trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation of children offenses. SB 588 would allow one who is being prosecuted for prostitution to introduce evidence of their experience as an affirmative defense, if the crime was committed as a result of having been trafficked.
Start “twisting the arm” of human trafficking by being aware; identify potential slaves. Some of the signs that point to victims of this slave industry are:
- Scripted answers; has restricted or strict communication
- Inconsistencies in their story
- Has no cash, as trafficker may hold all money brought in by victim
- Branding or tattoos (usually on the neck), especially that reflect ownership or money
- Bruising with varied stages of healing with black, purple, blue and yellow shades
- If foreign, has no travel documents or identification
- Cigarette burns, rope burns, scars, cuts or other physical abuse
- Coming on to several men
- Exhibits signs of exhaustion, fear, anxiety, depression, helplessness or shame
- Unable to or fears to make eye contact
- Chronic runaway or homeless youth
- Dating much older, abusive or controlling man
- Travels to other cities frequently
- Sudden change in attire, possessions, or behavior
- If foreign, has no travel documents or identification (trafficker often holds these)
- Multiple people living in cramped space, one house, or one restaurant
Although these are red flags to be aware of, we can’t assume a person exhibiting any one of these signs is a victim of human trafficking. Several of these signs together, however, may be a good indication that you have met someone who needs help.
Ask questions of the potential victim if you think you can do so safely. Do so privately without putting yourself or the victim in danger — the trafficker could be watching. Some questions you may want to ask are:
- Do you have your passport/identification? If not, who has it?
- Can you leave your job if you want to?
- Can you come and go as you please?
- Are you in debt to your employer?
- Have you been hurt or threatened if you tried to leave?
- Has your family been threatened?
- Do you live with your employer?
- Where do you sleep and eat?
If you’d like to “break the arm” which is holding an identified victim, here are some calls you can make:
911 Emergency: You should notify local law enforcement immediately by calling 911.
1-888-3737-888 National Human Trafficking Resource Center: The National Human Trafficking Resource Center is a national 24-hour, toll-free, multilingual anti-trafficking hotline. You may use this number to report a tip; connect with anti-trafficking services in your area; or request training and technical assistance, general information, or specific anti-trafficking resources.
Remember, we must combat any evil with the power of truth and the light of hope. Pray for all involved and keep informed. Be aware and be willing to make a difference. The child you save could be your own.
This article was originally posted at the AmericanDecency.org blog.