National Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Imagine meeting someone and quickly thinking they would change your life for the better. Imagine that you have that instant bond type of chemistry, and they bring you excitement and joy that you did not think was possible. Imagine that they promised to love and protect you.
Now imagine that this person suddenly changes and starts forcing you to do unthinkable things. Imagine you have suddenly been with countless strange men every single day. When you push back, it is met with violence or threats. When you think about getting help you remember their words, “I’m the only one who will love you now, you are just trash.” You realize that though you have seen a lot of cash flowing, you are not in control of it or anything else anymore. Imagine feeling hopeless.
This is sex trafficking.
January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. This month we take 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.
6 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. 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.
2. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world . The internet is one reason this crime has scaled so quickly with 150,000 new escort ads posted online in America every single day . Hidden among these are ads for children.
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 can make 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. Research shows that less than half of 1% of victims are being identified by government agencies for help . Guardian Group is uniquely situated to act as a force multiplier and identify potential victims to active US law enforcement for action.
6. 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.
Become a member of Team 1591. Inspired by the law (18 U.S. Code § 1591) that protects children from being sold for sex. Team 1591 is looking for 5,240 members all giving at least $15.91 a month. With this level of support Guardian Group’s internal Analysis Team and Project 1591 volunteer force could identify 2,300 victims annually to law enforcement at a minimum.
Help us expand our impact across the nation by connecting local law enforcement to us. Our Publicly Available Information Reports give officers a proactive edge in combating sex trafficking, saving them time and resources. All free of charge.
Together we can change the trajectory of sex trafficking in the United States.
 Department of Homeland Security. (2022, September 22). What is human trafficking? What Is Human Trafficking? | Homeland Security. Retrieved from link.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Human Trafficking Fact Sheet [PDF]
 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
 U.S. Department of State. (2023, September 15). 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report – United States Department of State. U.S. Department of State. https://www.state.gov/reports/2023-trafficking-in-persons-report/