National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month 2022: Part 2
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
To end human trafficking and modern day slavery, it is important to understand what it is – and what it isn’t. Then we can truly educate people so that we all have the tools to end it. Over the years that I have talked with people about human trafficking, I have encountered many misunderstandings of just what it is.
Here are some of the myths and realities about human trafficking, taken from the Polaris National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Myth: Human trafficking only happens in illegal or underground industries
· Reality: Human trafficking cases have been reported and prosecuted in industries including restaurants, cleaning services, construction, factories and more.
Myth: Only women and girls can be victims and survivors of sex trafficking
· Reality: One study estimates that as many as half of sex trafficking victims and survivors are male. Advocates believe that percentage may be even higher but that male victims are far less likely to be identified.
Myth: People being trafficked are physically unable to leave their situations/locked in/held against their will
· Reality: That is sometimes the case. More often, however, people in trafficking situations stay for reasons that are more complicated. Some lack the basic necessities to physically get out - such as transportation or a safe place to live. Some are afraid for their safety. Some have been so effectively manipulated that they do not identify at that point as being under the control of another person.
An lastly, here is the one myth I hear most often, and it can be the most damaging. This myth is dangerous because it keeps people from being aware of the very real dangers, especially to our children and young adults.
Myth: It’s always or usually a violent crime
· Reality: By far the most pervasive myth about human trafficking is that it always - or often - involves kidnapping or otherwise physically forcing someone into a situation. In reality, most human traffickers use psychological means such as tricking, defrauding, manipulating or threatening victims into providing commercial sex or exploitative labor.
Now that you know some of the realities of human trafficking, come share your knowledge with the community at the Red Sand Project on January 20th from 5:15 to 6pm at Citizen’s Circle in downtown Ocala. Help us tell the world that we care about those who so often fall through the cracks in our communities.