National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
January 3, 2018

How to Participate in National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month 2018

It’s January again, which means that people all across America are getting involved in National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

The national effort to raise awareness about the local and global problem of human trafficking has been going on for over a decade. In 2007 the U.S. Senate designated January 11th as the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness, and in 2010 President Barack Obama officially declared January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

This year, President Trump continued this tradition with a proclamation that January should be a time for the U.S. to “recommit ourselves to eradicating the evil of enslavement.”

The proclamation continued:

“Human trafficking is a modern form of the oldest and most barbaric type of exploitation. It has no place in our world.  This month we do not simply reflect on this appalling reality.  We also pledge to do all in our power to end the horrific practice of human trafficking that plagues innocent victims around the world.”

Similarly, in 2017, President Obama called upon “businesses, national and community organizations, families, and all Americans to recognize the vital role we must play in ending all forms of slavery and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.”

Human trafficking is a global problem.

By definition, human trafficking includes force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. It’s important to promote awareness and prevention of both labor and sexual slavery, though the National Center on Sexual Exploitation specifically addresses the issue of sex trafficking.

Statistics vary wildly on whether victims number in the millions or hundreds of millions largely because it is a crime that inherently exists underground, and so it’s difficult to measure with exact precision. Whatever the exact number may be, it should be clear to all of us that even one enslaved person is one too many.

So what can one individual do to combat sex trafficking?

We’ve got four actions you can take for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month:

1. Participate in our #TackleDemand campaign before the Super Bowl.

We are conducting a social media awareness campaign to send the message that buying sex (the demand) perpetuates the sex trafficking of women, men, and children (the supply.) Any time someone buys commercial sex, even if they believe that the seller is willing, they are feeding a system of exploitation.

You can get involved by participating in a social media storm to say:

Real sports fans don't buy sex. #TackleDemand for sex trafficking at #SB52. Click To Tweet

You can learn more here.

2. Learn about the links between pornography and sex trafficking at StopTraffickingDemand.com.

Many people still don’t realize that supporting the pornography industry by watching it, whether you pay or not, can promote sex trafficking. In fact, it’s very likely that regular pornography users will eventually watch pornography featuring coerced performers. Many professional performers in pornography are sex trafficked into a hostile environment of sexual exploitation, forced labor and physical abuse. You can read the stories of some individuals who were trafficking into pornography and learn more here.

3. Ask Netflix to halt show normalizing underage sex trafficking.

Netflix has ordered a new drama for the Italian market called Baby which is focused on the commercial sexual exploitation of young teenagers.

This 8-part series is a remake of an Italian drama, which is based on a real-life case of high school Roman teenagers and the imposing political figures who bought and used them for sex.

But far from using this story to highlight the dangerous harms of sexual exploitation, the new Netflix series is described as “a fictional coming-of-age story that follows a group of Parioli teenagers in their quest to defy societal norms.”

This show is poised to normalize underage sex trafficking as “edgy, glamorous prostitution.” Under U.S. federal law, anyone engaged in commercial sex who is under 18 years old is by law a sex trafficking victim. When society normalizes the idea of “teenage prostitution,” it becomes more difficult for law enforcement to convict the sex traffickers, pimps, and sex buyers who are abusing them.

You can take action by emailing Netflix through the form below, and you can learn more here.

4. Learn the warning signs.

Victims of human trafficking can fit into any demographic—they can be male or female, of any age. These warning signs are not exhaustive, but may be helpful in identifying individuals who could be coerced.

  • Under 18 performing commercial sex
  • Lack of control over personal ID / passport
  • Giving their money to a “manager” / “pimp” (note: can be male or female)
  • Owes a large debt and works to pay it off
  • Confused about the city or state they’re in
  • Avoids looking people in the eye, seems nervous, depressed
  • Signs of physical abuse, bruises, cuts, may be accompanied when visiting the doctor

The Department of Homeland Security provides an additional list of human trafficking indicators as well. Human trafficking can take place anywhere but it’s helpful to be especially alert in places like gas stations or rest stops, airports, and hotels or motels.

Where to report it:

  • Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) to report suspicious criminal activity to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). You can access the tip line outside the United States by calling 802-872-6199.
  • Submit a tip at www.ice.gov/tips. Trained officials take reports from both the public and law enforcement agencies on several subjects, including human trafficking.
  • To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH), call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733). The NHTH is operated by a nongovernmental organization that can help connect human trafficking survivors with service providers, provide technical assistance, and other resources.
Human trafficking can seem like a macro-level problem. But personal action starts on the micro-level. Click To Tweet

If each person does their part to combat the demand for commercial sex, and to identify and assist survivors, our nation will end January with a stronger stance against human trafficking.

Haley Halverson

Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach

Haley Halverson is the Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation where she develops and executes national campaigns to change policies and raise awareness. Most notably, she promotes corporate social responsibility by constructing annual activism campaigns like the Dirty Dozen List, which names 12 mainstream private companies that facilitate sexual exploitation. Her advocacy work has contributed to instigating policy improvements in the native online advertising, retail, and hotel industries.

She is a member of the Washington DC Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, September 2018-2019. This Committee advises DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on the multi-faceted continuum of the District of Columbia’s child welfare services, including prevention, early intervention, treatment, and sources of permanency.

Haley regularly speaks and writes on topics including child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, prostitution, sexual objectification, the exploitation of males, and more. She has presented before officials at the United Nations, as well as at several national symposia before influencers from the Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Croatian government officials. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts at Johns Hopkins University.

Previously, Haley served for two years as Director of Communications for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation where she oversaw strategic messaging development, press outreach, email marketing, and social media marketing.

Prior to working at NCOSE, Haley wrote for Media Research Center. Haley graduated from Hillsdale College (summa cum laude) with a double major, and conducted a senior thesis on the abolitionist argument regarding prostitution. During her studies, she studied abroad at Oxford University and established a background in policy research through several internships in the DC area.

Haley has appeared on, or been quoted in, several outlets including the New York Times, NBC’s The Today Show, BBC News, New York Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Fox News, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, Voice of America, Dr. Drew Midday Live, The DeMaio Report, the New York Daily News, the Washington Examiner, USA Radio Network, the Washington Times, CBC News, The Rod Arquette Show, The Detroit News, Lifezette, The Christian Post, Lifeline with Neil Boron, EWTN News Nightly, KCBS San Francisco Radio, LifeSiteNews, The Drew Mariano Show on Relevant Radio, News Talk KGVO, and American Family News.

She has written op-eds for the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, FoxNews.com, Townhall.com, Darling Magazine, the Daytona-Beach News Journal, and has been published in the Journal of Internet Law and the journal Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence.

Further Reading

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