How to Take a Stand During National Human Trafficking Prevention Month
Imagine meeting someone you thought would change your life for the better. Someone you thought would love and protect you. Imagine the excitement and joy you feel as this new relationship quickly develops, and you feel yourself falling in love.
Now imagine that this person you thought loved you starts forcing you to do unthinkable things with strangers over and over every single day. When you push back, they get violent or start making threats. When you think about getting help you remember their words, “I’m the only one who will love you now, you are just a prostitute.” You realize that though you have seen a lot of cash flowing, you are not in control of it or anything else anymore.
This is Sex Trafficking.
January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. A time to acknowledge the reality for victims of this horrific crime and honor the resilience of those that have survived it.
This month is also a time to learn more about how this crime happens and how each of us can play a critical role in disrupting and preventing trafficking here in our communities.
5 Key Facts about Sex Trafficking
1. According to the Department of Homeland Security, sex trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of commercial sex act . However, if the victim is a minor force, fraud or coercion do not need to be proven.
2. This crime can be tricky to prove so understanding what qualifies as force, fraud or coercion can be helpful.
- Force – violence, threats, using fear as a means of control.
- Fraud – promises that are never followed through on. These promises might be of love or of a job.
- Coercion – threats, pressure or shame. This may look like a threat to send an explicit photo to friends, classmates or family if the victim does not do what they are being told to do. The potential shame associated with that photo being sent can feel worse than the shame of doing what you are being told because no one has to know about it.
3. The average age of entry into the sex trade is 15 years old for females, it is believed to be younger for males . The teenage girl is often vulnerable, easily manipulated and seeking things like love, understanding and acceptance. These factors combined with a brain that is not fully developed to make logical decisions yet makes her a good target.
4. Child sex trafficking has been reported in all 50 states . It has been reported in big cities and rural communities. No town is safe from this type of crime existing within its city limits.
5. If you suspect trafficking contact local law enforcement. If you need to be connected to resources for trafficking victims anywhere in the United States, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888.373.7888).
3 Keys Ways to Get Involved
1. Join Guardian Group’s PURSUIT® team as a Project 1591® volunteer. Project 1591 is the first-ever 24/7 crowdsourcing process and platform that enables volunteers to become force multipliers to Guardian Group’s mission of illuminating child victims of sex trafficking in the United States. Learn more about what it takes to volunteer.
2. Support Guardian Group’s efforts financially. Financial support is a necessary element as we work to scale to match this rapidly growing crime. Together we will make a lasting impact. Learn more about ways to give both cash and non-cash options.
3. Sex Trafficking is a topic that no one likes to talk about because it is tragic and uncomfortable. However, it will not be stopped until we get over our discomfort and start talking about it. During the month of January, share this information with those you love. Start the conversations.
Every victim currently being victimized in this manner and every survivor working to thrive again deserve our best. We will not stop working until all are free.
 Department of Homeland Security. (2022, September 22). What is human trafficking? What Is Human Trafficking? | Homeland Security. Retrieved from link.
 Thorn (2018, January). Survivor Insights: The Role of Technology in Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking [PDF].
 National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. (2021). Child Sex Trafficking. Retrieved from https://www.missingkids.org/theissues/trafficking#bythenumbers