January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Since 2010, the President of the United States has dedicated the month to raising awareness about human trafficking and educating the public on how to recognize and prevent this crime. The U.S. Department of State raises awareness of human trafficking domestically and abroad through U.S. embassies and consulates. During this month, we celebrate the efforts of foreign governments, international organizations, anti-trafficking entities, law enforcement officials, survivor advocates, communities of faith, businesses, and private citizens to raise awareness about human trafficking.
Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, includes both forced labor and sex trafficking. Not only does it represent a threat to international peace and security, but it also undermines the rule of law, robs millions of their dignity and freedom, enriches transnational criminals and terrorists, and threatens public safety and national security everywhere. There are estimated to be more than 24.9 million people—adults and children—subjected to human trafficking around the world, including in the United States. Traffickers often take advantage of the instability caused by natural disasters, conflict, or pandemics to exploit others. During the COVID-19 pandemic, traffickers continue to perpetuate the crime, finding ways to innovate and capitalize on the chaos.
Slavery of any kind is cruel. However, the worst form of slavery is human trafficking. It enslaves a person’s mind, heart, soul, and spirit. Therefore, it is the most destructive form of abuse imaginable. Yet, victims of this form of slavery are not without hope. Many organizations in the Houston-Galveston area are dedicated to preventing this type of slavery, protecting victims from exploitation, and providing resources and tools to assist individuals in escaping a life of slavery and exploitation.
Listed below are tips and resources available for victims of sex or human trafficking, or if you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking:
- Contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline:
- Call 1-888-373-7888 (TTY711)
- Text: 233733
- Chat Online: Human Trafficking Hotline Web Chat
- Call 9-1-1 or the local police department.
- See Something, Say Something–Silence gives those who exploit others power and control.
- Contact the Office of the Texas Attorney General, Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Section at 512-463-1646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Texas Gulf Coast Coalition Against Human Trafficking, 409-770-3107, email@example.com.
Workforce Solutions has resources for individuals that need economic stability and security. There are 27 full-time and ten part-time career offices located throughout the Houston-Galveston region. The career offices have staff trained to assist individuals with finding employment and applying for financial aid for training and/or childcare. To find the Workforce Solutions career office nearest to you, please visit https://www.wrksolutions.com/find-a-location.
There is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure victims and survivors of human trafficking have the tools, resources, and support they need to secure financial security, economic stability, and every opportunity to live whole and healthy lives