Purpose

Each year at the end of July, the world recognizes World Day Against Trafficking and this year’s focus is on first responders. These are the people who work in different sectors such as identifying, supporting counseling and seeking justice for victims of trafficking. Trafficking is a serious crime and violation of human rights. Thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of trafficking in their own countries and abroad. You can be a part of World Day Against Trafficking by jumpstarting the conversation to put an end to trafficking worldwide.

Overview

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Traffickers use a variety of forms to lure their victims into labor or commercial sex exploitation. Trafficking is also defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of people by using threats or force such as abduction, fraud, deception or the use of abuse of power of a position of vulnerability.

There are many women calling the shots and running the game. According to Jamey Caruthers, Lead Attorney with Children At Risk states that “human trafficking is surprisingly not a male dominated business.”

Traffickers and their victims

People have a misconception that most human trafficking situations are part of large organized crime groups. Many victims are or once were a part of state services such as foster care. Also, many victims that were abused at some point in their life are vulnerable candidates for trafficking.

Increasing the spread of COVID-19

Unfortunately, the pandemic comes into play with trafficking and makes the spread of the virus a feeding ground. There has been an increase in COVID-19 pandemic related sex ads since the start of the pandemic. “Men are exposing themselves in the most intimate ways possible by coming into contact with COVID-19 and then returning to their families or their places of work,” Caruthers said. “We have cracked down on 1.6 million sex ads since the start of the pandemic.”

Lone Star Legal Aid partnered with Children At Risk on Facebook Live to provide insight on the reality of human trafficking in our city and state. If you are interested in learning more about human trafficking, efforts to combat this crime, legislative changes, educational projects and COVID-19 impacts on human trafficking, please watch the video below.

You can sign up for advocacy alerts with Children At Risk here.

If you would like to learn more on how to recognize and report human trafficking, refer to our previous blog post here.

National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888

If you or a loved one is in need of help, you can apply for free legal help online at www.lonestarlegal.org or over the telephone at 1-800-733-8394. If you or a loved one are experiencing abuse and need assistance, self-help resources are available via www.texaslawhelp.org.  If you or a loved one are in need of an attorney or would like to explore other resources, you can visit the Texas Crime Victim Legal Assistance Network.

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at http://www.lonestarlegal.org.

Media contact: Clarissa Ayala, cayala@lonestarlegal.org