Empowering women of all ages, shapes, sizes and walks of life is a top priority at Miss Fit Academy. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. This week's blog isn't as lighthearted as our usual content, however it is necessary to educate ourselves and raise our awareness of human trafficking. Knowing the signs, practicing prevention tactics and knowing what to do when suspicions are raised are the three key ways we can do our part to protect our community.
First, it's important to know what human trafficking is. It's a common misconception that slavery ended long ago. Statistics show that there are more slaves now than at any other time in history. Human trafficking is a term describing "the ways people are moved from freedom into slavery." Today women, girls, men and boys are forced into labor, servitude and, popularly, sex slavery and treated as assets by their "employers" (exploiters). Specifically, we are going to talk here about the signs of and prevention tactics for sex trafficking. This most commonly affects women and young girls who are coerced, manipulated, and given false promises by their future exploiters. Check out more information, and find out how the human trafficking industry is right in your backyard at EndSlaveryTN.Org.
Knowing how to spot the signs of sex trafficking victims could potentially save lives. The indicators below are just some of the clues to look out for. However, they should be considered together, and such situations are not to be taken lightly. Just because one or two of these indicators apply DOES NOT mean that an individual is being trafficked. If the situation arises that you DO have any suspicions about human trafficking in your area, report it. For even more signs and information, click here. Those who are victims of human trafficking may:
Be fearful of police/authorities
Be fearful of the trafficker, believing their lives or family members’ lives are at risk if they escape
Exhibit signs of physical and psychological trauma e.g. anxiety, lack of memory of recent events, bruising, untreated conditions
Be fearful of telling others about their situation
Have limited freedom of movement
Seem to be in debt to someone
Be regularly moved to avoid detection
Be moved between brothels, sometimes from city to city
Display a limited amount of clothing, of which a large proportion is sexual
Be unable to travel freely e.g. picked up and dropped off at work location by another person
Have money for their services provided collected by another person
Be in relationships with significantly older people
Be seen entering or leaving vehicles with unknown persons
Be showing signs of low self image/self harm/eating disorder
Be forced to work excessive hours; “on call” 24 hours a day
Never leave the house without the ‘employer’
Again, the aforementioned signs are not direct indicators of sex trafficking, but trust your instincts and stay aware. When we know what to look for we are able to protect ourselves, our neighbors, our children, etc. Miss Fit Academy is a safe place for women (and our few lovely men). It is imperative that we take the important leaps to make the world a safer place for us as well.
If you believe you have information about a potential trafficking situation there IS something you can do! Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Hotline Advocates are available 24/7 to take you call. Each report is confidential and you may remain anonymous. If you wish to submit your report online you can do so here.