Special Reports

Campus Safety: How Students Can Spot Human Trafficking [VIDEO]


Human trafficking is still a big issue in the United States. Unfortunately, though, there is not enough coverage on the problem and a lot of people are still unaware that it is prevalent in the nation.

It is described as the practice of transporting people from one area to another illegally. The people being trafficked usually end up doing forced labor or as sex slaves, for commercial sexual exploitation.

Speaking to Mount Wachusett Community College, Nikki Valila, director of training at My Life My Choice, said that the signs of human trafficking are now more subtle. It's no longer just about kids being kidnapped in vans or seeing belt marks in their skins.

On average, human trafficking victims fall at 14 years old. 59 percent were under 14. Risk factors include domestic violence, addiction, loss of loved ones, mental health issues, learning disabilities, racism, sexism and classism, among others.

College students can help those who are victims of this problem. Because the issue is larger than people think, being aware about the signs can help students save their friend's life.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, one of the signs involved people not having the freedom to come and go as he or she wishes. Another risk factor is owing a large debt and having the inability to pay for it.

In the mental health side, victims are usually fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense or paranoid. They also tend to avoid eye contact.

Physical aspects involve appearing malnourished or showing signs of frequent exposure to harmful chemicals. An easy way to spot a victim of human trafficking is that they show signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement or torture. Victims also do not have control of their own money or identification documents.

It was previously reported that college students have joined the cause in raising awareness and funds for the victims of human trafficking. Princeton Against Sex Trafficking (PAST), International Justice Mission and One Voice are just a few of higher education student organizations that want to end human trafficking.

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