January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In 2010, President Barack Obama established this tradition. Every year since then, the current President has followed suit and designated January to raise awareness around human trafficking and educate people about how to identify and prevent the crime.
Human trafficking is an illegal act that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of service from a person. Often times it is forced labor or sexual exploitation. Anyone can become a victim of human trafficking, no matter their age, race, gender, or nationality.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2020 alone, there were 10,583 reported cases, 238 of which were in Washington. Indicators of human trafficking are listed on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website as well as other useful information.
The International Rescue Committee in Washington State has a program called the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network also referred to as WARN. WARN is a coalition of non-governmental organizations that provide direct services to victims of human trafficking in Washington state and has been active since 2004. The program supports victims of human trafficking and helps them live their lives without revictimization.
How do I take action?
There are many ways to take action in preventing and stopping slavery and human trafficking. You can educate yourself by visiting WARN’s resources page. You can also volunteer, raise awareness in your community, and support service providers for victims of human trafficking. Ways to do all of this and more are available on WARN’s website.
Stay safe and speak up if you see anything suspicious.
1 (888) 373-7888 is the number of the National Human Trafficking Hotline.