The 30th of July is World Day against Human Trafficking in Persons. That’s quite a mouthful and probably not something that most people think of – but they should. It is a very serious topic and very scary too.
Worst thing is that it happens – a lot more than you think.
The International Labour Organisation reckons that there are about 20.9 million victims of human trafficking around the world. 68% of these people are trapped into forced labour, 26% are children and 55% are women and children.
It is horrendous to think that unscrupulous people make money out of snatching other human beings and exploiting them for money. Often false advertising is involved. Like somebody sees a billboard for as enticing job in a faraway place with a toll free number to call. But instead of getting the job that they are expecting, they are tossed into a brothel or a sweat shop and forced to do jobs that they would have never in a million years wanted to do. Because they are illegally in a foreign country, with no paperwork and usually no money, they have very little chance of ever going home again.
These are some of the signs that traffickers look for in children:
- Drug, alcohol or tobacco use
- History of prior neglect
- Gang involvement
- Bad history with child welfare services
- Low self-esteem
- History of victimization
- Criminal history
- Current involvement with criminals
Here are some tips to help you stay safe:
- Never give your social media passwords or bank pin numbers to anybody.
- Never let anybody hold your ID documents for you – even if you think they are trying to help.
- Avoid posting your location on-line. (This is a biggie these days with social media and cell phones automatically offering to post where you are.)
- Remember that you have a RIGHT to stay safe.
- Remind yourself that your worth should not be determined by another person.
- Think of a plan of who to call and what to do if you feel you are in an unsafe situation.
- Memorize the number of an adult you completely trust and the Human Trafficking 24/7 hotline +1 888-373-7888.
So, when your parental agents tell you not to talk to strangers – they are not kidding. If somebody promises you something that sounds too good to be true – it probably is.