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Friday, January 20, 2017

Guest Post: How to Recognize Human Trafficking

I've asked Kimberly Rae to share with us about a difficult subject. You may wonder why we're even talking about such a topic. It’s because Christians should be involved in caring, rescuing lives, and pointing needy women and children to the Lord. I believe these guest posts by Mrs. Rae will help us to open our eyes and watch for signs that children have been exploited. The least we can do is call and report suspected trafficking. May we make a real difference for those who need someone to care! Thank you, Kimberly, for sharing your burden with us!

Award-winning author Kimberly Rae lived in Bangladesh, Uganda, Kosovo, and Indonesia before a health issue brought her back to the United States. She lives with her family at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she writes and trains others about fighting human trafficking. Rae has been published over 200 times and has works in five languages. Her series of suspense/romance novels on international human trafficking (Stolen Woman, Stolen Child, and Stolen Future) are all Amazon bestsellers. She has also authored a new series, Shredded and Shattered. (You can read my review of Shredded, here.)

People care about human trafficking and want to make a difference, but many have no idea how. Would they be able to recognize a trafficking victim if they saw one? And if they did, what could they do about it?

I’m here to help. Let’s start with after a person is trafficked. You might see a trafficked victim at a rest stop, gas station, motel, or large event like a football game. (See my video on Trafficking and the Super Bowl on YouTube.) Here are some major warning signs to look for.

Warning Signs That an Individual is Being Trafficked:
  • Signs of physical abuse, such as burn marks, bruises, and cuts
  • Unexplained absences from school
  • Less appropriately dressed than before
  • Sexualized behavior
  • Overly tired in school
  • Withdrawn, depressed, or distracted
  • Brags about making or having lots of money
  • Wears expensive clothes, accessories
  • New tattoo (Tattoos are often used as brands. A tattoo of a name, symbol of money, or a barcode could indicate trafficking.)
  • Older boyfriend or new friends with a different lifestyle
  • Talks about wild parties or invites other students to attend parties
  • Shows signs of gang affiliation (wears gang colors or symbols)

Traffickers Often Exhibit These Characteristics:
  • Jealous, controlling, and violent
  • Significantly older than female companions
  • Promise things that seem too good to be true
  • Encourage victims to engage in illegal activities to achieve their goals and dreams
  • Buys expensive gifts or owns expensive items
  • Is vague about his/her profession
  • Pushy or demanding about intimacy
  • Encourages inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Makes the victim feel responsible for his/her financial stability and is very open about financial matters.

If you see something that doesn’t look right, call the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. (They are the 9-1-1 for human trafficking.) Sourced by the Polaris Project, the Hotline has access to law enforcement all over the country and can work in over one hundred languages. You can call with something you’ve seen, even if you aren’t sure it’s trafficking. You can even text them anonymously.

Stay tuned for Kimberly's next post about protecting young people and preventing trafficking. It's important!

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