Human Trafficking Awareness Day: What Every Parent Should Know
Remember what it was like to get your first car? These days, that’s exactly how kids feel when they get their first kids phone. To many kids, a phone represents freedom.
In 2007, the U.S. Senate designated January 11th as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Three years later, President Barack Obama issued a presidential proclamation declaring the whole month of January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Every year since, each president has followed this tradition.
In an effort to educate the public, law enforcement, and elected officials, the Department of Homeland Security launched Blue Campaign to host special events and activities throughout January. The largest of their initiatives is #WearBlueDay on January 11th. Among other things, anyone interested in combatting modern day slavery and human trafficking is encouraged to wear blue and post pictures using the hashtag #WearBlueDay.
Keeping kids safe is a fundamental part of our mission at Gabb so Human Trafficking Awareness Day is an initiative we’re eager to support. Below we’ve gathered a handful of facts about human trafficking that every parent should know.
What is human trafficking?
The United States government organizes human trafficking into two primary categories: forced labor and sex trafficking.
Forced labor, as defined by the U.S. Department of State, “encompasses the range of activities involved when a person uses force, fraud, or coercion to exploit the labor or services of another person.”1 Forced child labor and domestic servitude—when a trafficker requires a victim to perform work in a private residence—are the two most common types of forced labor. But forced labor can be found in just about any industry.
Sex trafficking is similar to forced labor but specifically involves forcing the victim to engage in a commercial sex act, or forcing a child to engage in a commercial sex act.
Many people gained an initial awareness of the horrors of human trafficking from the 2008 blockbuster, Taken, starring Liam Neeson. The film follows Neeson playing an ex-CIA officer as he attempts to track down his teenage daughter and her best friend after the two girls are kidnapped by sex traffickers while in France on vacation. While sex trafficking is the most well-known form of human trafficking, there are many types.
Trafficking isn’t just a foreign problem, it occurs in the United States
Human trafficking is a hidden crime so it’s difficult to gather accurate data. But estimates make it clear the problem is both enormous and far reaching.
According to the International Labour Organization’s 2022 report, “there are 27.6 million people in situations of forced labour on any given day. This absolute number translates to 3.5 people in forced labour for every thousand people in the world.”2
Sadly, the United States is not an exception. Some areas of the globe are worse than others but, even right here in our own communities, experts estimate at least 10,000 people are working as forced laborers at any one time.3
Children and women are the most vulnerable
No group is free of the risk of becoming a trafficking victim—they can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. But women and children are exploited disproportionately: “Women and girls comprise 71% of all modern slavery victims. Children make up 25% and account for 10 million of all the slaves worldwide.”4
How technology influences modern slavery
Unsurprisingly, technological innovation is being used to both exacerbate and solve the problem. Slavery is as old as humankind but today’s unprecedented connectivity has allowed traffickers to recruit victims more broadly and facilitate more expansive and sophisticated trafficking networks.
On the flip side, technology is being used to shed light on the problem and aid government and private institutions dedicated to apprehending traffickers and saving victims.
The potential of technology—for good and bad—as it relates to trafficking is yet another reason it’s crucial to teach kids how to navigate the digital world safely. This should be a topic you discuss regularly and openly at home. If you need ideas for how to teach digital skills to your kids, we’ve got you covered.
And when you feel your child is ready for their own device, be sure you find the right device for their maturity level. Our Gabb phones and watches were designed as the ideal first devices: no internet, social media, or unsafe apps but all the tools they need to stay connected with friends and family.
Join with us this January in spreading the word about human trafficking. There are a lot of ways to get involved in raising awareness but remember, whatever else you do, the first and best step to take is protecting your own children.
1 What Is Human Trafficking? | Homeland Security
2 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage | International Labour Organization
3 Human Trafficking: Modern Enslavement of Immigrant Women in the United States | American Civil Liberties Union
4One in 200 people is a slave. Why? | The Guardian
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