By Josie Rabbitt Bingham
MINNEAPOLIS—For years, studies have shown that major events like Super Bowl have a temporary impact on the high rise of human trafficking. Online sex ads may increase from 30 percent to 300 percent during the big game, according to Nita Belles, managing director of anti-trafficking nonprofit In Our Backyard and author of In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in America and What We Can Do to Stop It.
“Human trafficking happens 365 days a year anywhere there is Internet,” Belles said. “So it is here already, and it does increase during the Super Bowl.”
Along with supporting the efforts of organizations and legal professionals fighting trafficking, Belles said one of the biggest things people can do to is raise awareness of the issue. Here are eight ways you can get started and make a difference today.
1. Learn the indicators of human trafficking so you can help identify a potential trafficked victim.
Here are some red flags pulled from the U.S. State Department that might indicate a human trafficking situation is happening.
- Signs of physical abuse
- Multiple people in a cramped space
- You’re unable to speak to an individual alone
- Fearful and submissive behavior
2.Memorize the National Human Trafficking Hotline
Call 1-888-373-7888, and report suspicious activity to law enforcement by calling 911.
3. Volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts.
There are plenty of national organizations and probably some in your community, too. Support agencies like the Polaris Project, Not For Sale, The Baptist Friendship House, In Our Backyard and The End It Movement.
4. Educate yourself.
Set up a web alert to receive current human trafficking news. The more you know, the more you can do to help fight against this industry.
5. Donate items to places aiding survivors of human trafficking.
The Baptist Friendship House, in partnership with Send Relief, has a list of much-needed items. They include postage stamps, gift cards, non-perishable food items, laundry detergent, trash bags, diapers, paper products and towels.
6. Give financially.
Help anti-human trafficking agencies continue their life-changing work. You can also hold a fundraiser, bake sale, race, silent auction or do a challenge to raise funds for awareness about human trafficking.
7. Be a conscientious consumer.
Check out the Department of Labor’s list of goods produced by child labor or forced labor. You can reduce your slavery footprint by simply being careful about who you buy from. The less we support these abuses, the better chance we have of pushing back the lostness in North America.
8. Last but certainly not least, pray.
Last but certainly not least, pray for the safety of those serving to protect the rights and lives of human trafficking victims. Pray for peace and a means of escape for those living in human trafficking. Pray for America and for leaders to make wise decisions in combatting this industry.
To learn more about human trafficking, visit sendrelief.org/human-trafficking/.
Josie Rabbitt Bingham writes for the Send Relief.