Human trafficking is one of the most petrifying issues that is happening all around the world, even locally. In fact, human trafficking cases in Ohio rose last year to its highest level. According to Polaris (the organization that monitors the human trafficking hotline), there were 375 cases of sex trafficking in Ohio in 2016, up from 289 cases reported in 2015. Those are only the cases that were actually reported. The reality is, human trafficking is everywhere, and it’s vital for us to recognize that it can happen to anyone, of any race or gender.
There are three types of human trafficking- sex trafficking, forced labor and debt bondage, according to the Human Rights Commission. Debt bondage and forced labor tend to occur in countries other than the United States, and it happens within the workplace. Debt bondage occurs when one is tricked into working for little or no pay, with no control over their debt according to Anti-Slavery. Slavery is an organization that works to end slavery throughout the world. Forced labor is when one is forced to work through the use of violence or intimidation according to International Labour Organization. So again, human trafficking is found worldwide, and it can happen to anyone.
It is commonly thought that only women are victims of human trafficking. However, that is not the case. Even though 98 percent of the victims of sex trafficking in the United States are women, globally, 42 percent of victims of state-imposed labor exploitation are male according to the International Labour Organization. So even though males are not commonly sex trafficked, they are still exploited in other ways.
It is important to be aware that trafficking victims come from rural, urban and suburban settings. It doesn’t matter where one lives or comes from. Some will go to extreme measures to sell people into human trafficking including seduction, false advertisements, abduction or threats to them or their family. They also may lie about educational or job opportunities.
Be aware of the people who surround you at all times, and if you go out, try to be with at least one other person. Just remember, no matter who you are or where you are, human trafficking can happen anytime. No one is immune to it.