National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
By: Lauren Buckley, Masters Level Intern
National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is annually observed on January 11th. This day helps bring awareness to human trafficking, which is “a crime that leaves a lasting toll on human life, families, and communities around the world” (NationalDayCalendar.com, 2022). Each year, organizations around the world help support communities, provide training to volunteers, and utilize educational events to increase awareness of the crime of sex trafficking (NationalDayCalendar.com, 2022).
According to National Today (2022.), although the entire month of January has been recognized as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is specifically dedicated to awareness and prevention of the illegal practice. Observation of this day was initiated following the start of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Human trafficking involves the illegal act of using force, fraud, or coercion to obtain labor or sex (NationalDayCalendar.com, 2022). Victims of human trafficking can experience various types of violence, threats, several forms of abuse, food deprivation, isolation, and chronic health concerns.
It is important to be aware of the signs of human trafficking. Being able to suspect or identify a victim or perpetrator of human trafficking can save lives (National Today, 2022). Continuing to be conscious and aware of one’s environment and behaviors from others is integral. There are several resources that can be utilized to support spotting and preventing human trafficking from occurring or progressing. Information can be provided including awareness of populations that are vulnerable, how traffickers can seek and capture individuals, concerning or suspicious activity, and more. One can utilize the following resource for more information: https://humantraffickinghotline.org/en/human-trafficking/recognizing-signs.
There can be several ways that one can choose to get involved to advocate for awareness of human trafficking. One way is referred to as the “31:8 Project”, which represents Proverbs 31:8 to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves”. This project organization “works to equip and challenge society to proactively address issues regarding human trafficking” (NationalDayCalendar.com, 2022) This organization provides informative seminars, conducts research, and creates a curriculum applicable to all levels of education and forms of human trafficking (318project.org, n.d.) Through their research, they examine the causes, impact, and issues surrounding this crime and the victims (318project.org, n.d.). Other ways to help include calling legislators, supporting events that improve awareness, helping empower young people to leave unsafe environments, and reporting suspicion of human trafficking to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NationalDayCalendar.com, 2022). One can also advocate for human trafficking awareness through social media.
As counselors and other mental health professionals, it is our duty to help protect and advocate for individuals (or their loved ones) that have experienced human trafficking. Proper assessment and treatment within counseling services can immensely support individuals that have fallen victim to this crime. Continuous monitoring is essential for ongoing care. Additionally, continuing to bring awareness of the crime of human trafficking can help support prevention and protection for individuals that have experienced this trafficking, abuse, and other forms of trauma.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline can be reached at 1-888-373-7888. One can also text “HELP” or “INFO” to BeFree (233733) or call 911.
318project.org, (n.d.). 318 project. 31. Retrieved December 31, 2022, from https://www.318project.org/
Humantraffickinghotline.org. (n.d.). Recognizing the signs. National Human Trafficking Hotline. Retrieved December 31, 2022, from https://humantraffickinghotline.org/en/human-trafficking/recognizing-signs
National Today (2022, October 26). National Human Trafficking Awareness Day – January 11. National Today. Retrieved December 31, 2022, from https://nationaltoday.com/national-human-trafficking-awareness-day/
NationalDayCalendar.com (2022, November 7). National Human Trafficking Awareness Day – January 11. National Day Calendar. Retrieved December 31, 2022, from https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-human-trafficking-awareness-day-january-11/