Human Trafficking Awareness Month at PCC
by Lesley McLam, January 31st 2020
In 2010 the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began a concerted effort to combat human trafficking called the Blue Campaign.
The Blue Campaign “partners with state, local, and tribal governments, federal agencies, and non-governmental and private organizations to provide training and resources on recognizing and reporting suspected human trafficking,” according to the DHS website.
Portland Community College’s Dreamers Resource Center, Veteran’s Resource Center, and Women’s Resource Center are supporting the Blue Campaign by bringing awareness to the 2020 National Slavery and Human Trafficking prevention month from Saturday, January 11 to February 11, 2020.
“Human Trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain labor or commercial sex,” according to DHS.
“Victims can be any age, race, ethnicity, gender, sex, or nationality, and they can come from any socioeconomic background,” according to the department.
Human trafficking is an issue that can impact any community, so knowing the signs and how to be alert is essential.
The department provides information on how human traffickers operate. Those engaged in human trafficking often prey on individuals “who are vulnerable for a variety of reasons,” including economic hardship, domestic violence victims, displaced persons from natural disasters or political instability, or those with cultural and language barriers.
Learning to recognize some of the key social and behavioral indicators of a potential trafficking victim could save a life.
A person being trafficked may show signs of:
- mental or physical abuse
- being unable to travel or socialize freely
- have someone consistently with or near them who prevents communicating or sharing of personal information
- Burns, scars, mutilations, and/or untreated medical conditions
- Having been coached on what to say or how to behave
- Fearfulness, timidity and behaving submissively
- Not knowing where they live, work, or having to go through “unreasonable safety measures.”
- Being forced into labor, sex or other behaviors against their will
- Uncertainty of their travel destination or plans.
- Being a minor who is traveling with someone who does not appear or behave as their actual parent or legal guardian.
Blue Campaign materials indicate that not some or none of the aforementioned signs of trafficking may be visible or present.
If you would like to learn more about the fight to end human trafficking and the Blue Campaign, visit the DHS website at: www.dhs.gov/bluecampaign
If you suspect human trafficking, DHS recommends that you do not confront the suspected trafficker or alert the victim to your suspicions.
National Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888