On December 30, 2022, President Biden issued a proclamation declaring January 2023 as Human Trafficking Prevention Month. (https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/12/30/a-proclamation-on-national-human-trafficking-prevention-month-2023/ )
In the proclamation, President Biden leads with, “Around the world, human trafficking has stripped nearly 25 million people of their safety, dignity, and liberty — disproportionately affecting historically underserved and marginalized communities. During National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we reaffirm our commitment to ending this inhumane and immoral practice in all its forms. And as we bring perpetrators to justice, we renew our pledge to help survivors recover and rebuild their lives.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ theme for Human Trafficking Prevention Month 2023 is Partner to Prevent, it is an opportunity to highlight the importance of partnerships and collaboration in strengthening anti-trafficking efforts. Preventing human trafficking cannot be accomplished alone; rather, we must build partnerships across all sectors of society to improve the lives of those we serve.
Locally, organizations like Pathways to Hope for Children (Pathways) are focused on bringing attention to Commercially and Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) and Human Trafficking during January. In partnership with the Shasta County Health and Human Service Agency – Children’s Branch and the District Attorney Crime Victims Assistance Center, Pathways is asking our community to join the national efforts to Partner to Prevent human trafficking. When we #Partner2Prevent, we can enhance our efforts to keep everyone safe from human trafficking and CSEC. Visit OTIP’s website throughout January for news and resources and the federal interagency calendar of events.
JANUARY 11, 2023 IS NATIONAL DAY OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS.
Pathways encourages individuals and business to take part in the National Blue Campaign #WearBlueDay. To raise awareness of human trafficking, we invite the public to take photos of themselves, friends, family, and colleagues wearing blue clothing and share them on social media – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – along with our #WearBlueDay #Partner2PPrevent and #hopeshasta hashtags. Anyone can participate, all you need is a piece of blue clothing, take a photo and encourage others to do the same and post.
STATISTICS ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Nationally, 1 in 5 homeless youth report being a victim of CSEC!
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, A total of 2,198 persons were referred to U.S. Attorneys for human trafficking offenses in the fiscal year 2020, a 62% increase from the 1,360 persons referred in 2011. Also, the number of persons prosecuted for human trafficking increased from 729 in 2011 to 1,343 in 2020, an 84% increase.
California has the 7th highest rate of human trafficking in the United States. There are about 3.8 trafficking victims in California for every 100,000 civilians. Considering that there are close to 39.54 million people in the state according to the 2020 census, the estimate translates to over 1,500 trafficking victims, according to etastics.com
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Sexually exploitation of minors can happen both in-person and electronically (which is more frequently experienced).
- Person has large amounts of money or costly items he or she cannot reasonably afford
- Exhibits overtly sexualized behavior
- Exhibits evidence of sexual abuse
- Being secretive about the sites they visit or whom they are talking to online
- Possessing new items, you haven’t given them, especially electronic devices
There are common myths and misconceptions regarding human trafficking that are important to dispel:
- Trafficking does not require that a victim be transported from one location to another, in fact, a youth could be sex trafficked and not leave their home.
- Trafficking occurs in every community in the United States, it is not just an issue that affects foreign-born individuals who are brought to this country. Most victims of CSEC in our community are U.S. citizens.
- Victims of trafficking can come from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
- Exploiters can be anyone including friends, family members, trusted adults, or someone who is claiming to have a romantic relationship with the youth. They target vulnerable youth, using psychological and physical manipulation.
Below are some signs that a young person might be a victim or at high risk of CSEC:
- Chronic runaway/homeless youth (nationally, 1 in 5 homeless youth report being a victim)
- Injuries/signs of physical abuse
- Presence of another person, often older, who seems controlling
- Not in control of their own money
- Having material possessions, they normally wouldn’t (cash, expensive clothing, new cell phone)
If you suspect that a youth you have encountered is in an emergency, where the safety and welfare of the youth are in imminent jeopardy, contact 9-1-1 and report the situation.
In Shasta County reports of suspected sexual exploitation of minors should also be made by calling the Child Abuse Hotline (530) 225-5144.
The City of Redding offers tips to help identify human trafficking on their website at https://www.cityofredding.org/departments/police-department/report-it/report-human-trafficking .If you believe you have identified someone still in the trafficking situation, alert law enforcement immediately at the numbers provided below. It may be unsafe to attempt to rescue a trafficking victim. You have no way of knowing how the trafficker may react and retaliate against the victim and you. If, however, you identify a victim who has escaped a trafficking situation, there are several organizations to whom the victim could be referred for help with shelter, medical care, legal assistance, and other critical services. In this case, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline described below.
1-888-373-7888 National Human Trafficking Hotline
Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline, a national 24-hour, toll-free, multilingual anti-trafficking hotline. Call 1-888-373-7888 to report a tip; connect with anti-trafficking services in your area; or request training and technical assistance, general information, or specific anti-trafficking resources. The Hotline is equipped to handle calls from all regions of the United States from a wide range of callers including, but not limited to; potential trafficking victims, community members, law enforcement, medical professionals, legal professionals, service providers, researchers, students, and policymakers.
IN SHASTA COUNTY
Human Trafficking exists in Shasta County, yet under current state law, human trafficking is not considered a violent crime. But Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett says it should be. She’s backing Senate Bill 1042 (SB-1042), which would repeal Proposition 57 and make human trafficking a violent crime with more severe penalties.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONNECT WITH US AT:
(530) 242-2020 | INFO@HOPESHASTA.ORG