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Human Trafficking

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Native people have a long history of exploitation and deserve to know about the increasing rates of human trafficking in America. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and StrongHearts Native Helpline is dedicated to spreading awareness and sharing information about resources available to victim-survivors and their families.

Human Trafficking Defined

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. It involves buying, selling, and/or transportation of a person for the purpose of exploiting them for sex or forced labor. A trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to obtain and maintain control over the victim.

Victims are tricked into servitude by being:

  • Recruited or lured under false pretense concerning work and/or education.
  • Subjected to physical and/or psychological abuse.
  • Unable to come or go, and/or quit.

Recognizing Human Trafficking

Human trafficking can happen to anyone, but statistics show that people of color and LGBTQ2S suffer the highest rates of victimization. These populations are made vulnerable through centuries of generational trauma, historic oppression, discrimination and racism. Social and economic inequities play a significant role in their victimization.

Traffickers will look for perceived vulnerabilities to target potential victims. They often primarily target women and girls who are affected by poverty, the lack of access to education and economic opportunities, chronic unemployment and discrimination, which is known to disproportionately exist in Native communities. Traffickers recognize these common vulnerabilities associated with their victims. They also include:

  • Homeless or unstable living situation
  • Previous experience with other forms of violence such as sexual abuse or domestic violence
  • An addiction to drugs or alcohol
  • A runaway or is involved in the juvenile justice or child welfare system
  • Facing poverty or economic need
  • Mental health concerns

Types and Tactics of Sex Trafficking

The top four sex trafficking types include: escort services, illicit massage, health and beauty, and pornography.

The top five recruitment tactics in order of prevalence include: marriage proposition, familial, job offer/advertisement, posing as a benefactor, false promises/fraud.

The top five forms of force, fraud and coercion in order of prevalence include: induces/exploits substance abuse issues, physical abuse, sexual abuse, intimidation - displays/threatens weapons and emotional abuse -- intimacy-related.

How The National Human Trafficking Hotline Can Help

The National Human Trafficking Hotline supports victims and survivors, friends and family, law enforcement, service providers, government, professionals, practitioners and advocates in the human trafficking and related fields, community groups, and more. The National Human Trafficking Hotline connects victims and survivors of sex and labor trafficking with services and supports to get help and stay safe. Contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline by toll-free phone, SMS text lines and live online chat. Call 1-888-373-7888.

StrongHearts Native Helpline Serves Native Americans and Alaska Natives Nationwide

StrongHearts Native Helpline is a culturally-appropriate and anonymous helpline for Native Americans impacted by domestic, dating and sexual violence. StrongHearts advocates offer peer support and advocacy, personal safety planning, crisis intervention and referrals to Native-centered domestic violence service providers.

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