Thursday, July 14, 2016

How Can I Help?

Are you reading current news articles and getting upset about the stories you've read about innocent people being lured and/or forced into sex and labor trafficking industries? Have you often wondered what you can do but don't know where to start? Here are some recommendations:

  • The first, and most important, thing you can do is educate yourself about human trafficking. Find out the truth about this terrible crime - know the facts. Then you can educate the people around you. A couple weeks ago I was driving with my daughter and son-in-law. We were talking when my son-in-law said,"Hey, did you hear that Michigan is number 2 in human trafficking?" Having participated in several trainings on human trafficking, I knew that this was a bad statistic. I explained to him that there is no way to know how many victims there are because of the secretive nature of the crime. Also, with the movement of victims around the country it makes it very difficult to track accurately.
  • Read Kevin Bales book, Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World.
  • Look for agencies in your community that provide either direct or indirect services to human trafficking victims. You can help them by becoming directly involved or by supporting them financially.
  • Volunteer with the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force or make a donation to support its important work.
  • Watch for potential human trafficking situations around you. If you see something, report it.

Even if the only thing you do is to educate yourself and turn around and educate others, you are providing a valuable service to human trafficking victims.  You can be their voice when theirs has been taken away.

Take Action:
  • If you suspect a situation of human trafficking, report it to the National Human Trafficking Resource Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to BEFREE (233733).  The national toll free hotline is available to answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year in more than 200 languages.
  • To contribute to the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force, you can mail a check to MHTTF, 717 US 27 North, Marshall, MI 49068.

Roberta J. Haney-Jones, MS, CT, CA is a Victims Rights Program Director for the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan and a member of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force.