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.
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.
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.