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Recognizing and Preventing Human Trafficking

Posted on Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Human trafficking, by definition, “involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.” Polaris, an organization responding to sex and labor trafficking, worked on 11,500 cases reported to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2019 but this number is only a fraction of the problem as this issue is infamously underreported. There is an estimate of between 20 to 40 million people in modern slavery today. Victims of human trafficking comes from all ages, race, gender and/or nationality.

With these alarming numbers, governments began hastening local, state, national and international laws to combat human trafficking. Even with laws in place, human trafficking is extremely difficult to stop for the following reasons:

  • Criminals involved in human trafficking are skilled at what they do.
  • Human trafficking occurs across borders, making it difficult to track.
  • In some cases, victims of human trafficking do not know they have been sold for labor. Victims may even feel as though a means of an escape is far detached.
  • Unfortunately, there will always be a market for owning someone and providing cheap labor or lucrative services.

Recognizing human trafficking is certainly not impossible, though. Victims can sometimes be found in public spaces, such as restaurants, hotels and airports. Familiarizing oneself to common indicators of human trafficking is crucial to identify victims. These indicators include observing an individual’s behavior: does the person appear submissive and/or fearful? Are they unable to speak to someone alone? Does their answers seem scripted or rehearsed? Other indicators include the employer possessing the individual’s identification documents, residing in poor living conditions or with an employer and paid very little or none at all.

Prevent Human Trafficking

– Familiarize oneself to indicators of human trafficking
– Support, volunteer and donate to/at anti-trafficking efforts
– Stay up-to-date with human trafficking news
– Educate communities on online safety
– Practice responsible sourcing and research what companies use human trafficking for supply chain


Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-800-373-7888
Human Trafficking Trauma Toolkit
Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Publications
The CNN Freedom Project
The Polaris Project

Nevada ASUN and Nevada Cares hope to foster a safe environment for survivors of gender-based violence. Although it is not an exhaustive list, both of the organizations compiled a list of local and national resources to further assist survivors through recovery.

Local Resources:

Northern Nevada –
Crisis Support Services of Nevada: 775-784-8090 (Hotline)
Safe Embrace: 775-322-3466 (Hotline)
Tu Casa Latina

Las Vegas –
The Shade Tree of Las Vegas
S.A.F.E. House
Interfaith Hospitality Network: 702-638-8806 (Hotline)

National Resources:
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
The National Network to Eliminate Domestic Violence
RAINN: Rape Abuse Incest National Network
Stalking Resource Center