January is recognized as National Human Trafficking Prevention month and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security established “The Blue Campaign” back in 2010 to bring visibility to the prevalent, but often under reported and over looked, global issue.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, annually, millions of women, men and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that it’s a $32 billion per year industry that includes domestic servitude, sexual trafficking and forced labor.
This crime occurs nationwide, in cities, suburbs and rural towns and although it is widespread, many victims rarely come forward to seek help due to language barriers or fear of their traffickers or law enforcement.
Blue Campaign members work in collaboration with government officials, public and private organizations and law enforcement in order to raise public awareness, protect exploited individuals and bring perpetrators to justice. They feel that increased awareness and additional training will lead to more tips to law enforcement which will in turn, result in more victims being identified and more criminals being prosecuted.
However, you don’t need to be a DHS official or law enforcement officer to help bring this heinous crime out of the shadows. Visit the DHS Blue Campaign website for tips on recognizing human trafficking warning signs and resource materials that can help you use your voice and individual platform to raise awareness.
To report suspected human trafficking contact local law enforcement officials or call 1-866-347-2423.