My final project involved the creation of a brochure on human trafficking. My goal was to inform people about what human trafficking means. I want people to be able to distinguish a circumstance in which human trafficking is occurring and also to protect themselves from it.

Although there are many ways that people can be trafficked, sex trafficking is one of the top three most common forms. The traffickers have power and agency over the victims. There may be times when a victim can escape, but won’t, because of fear of retribution from their trafficker.

As my brochure mentions, all children are vulnerable to human trafficking. It’s important to understand who is impacted. Annually, traffickers exploit nearly one million children in the commercial sex trade. Also, women and girls make up 80% of the people trafficked transnationally. At one time, a large number of child sex trafficking survivors were in the foster care system. Lastly, many victims are runaway girls that were sexually abused as children.

It’s extremely vital to know the signs of human trafficking. These signs can come in various forms, and can be helpful when trying to distinguish whether a person is being trafficked. Signs to be aware of include the person’s movement is controlled and they may have a false identity. Other signs to look out for are if a person doesn’t know their home address or they are unable to negotiate working conditions. You may become attentive to potential victims who work extremely long hours for long periods of time, have limited or no social interaction, and have limited contact with their friends and family. Recognizing the red flags and knowing the indicators of human trafficking is a key step in helping victims find the assistance they need.

Most law enforcement records do not accurately reflect the number of trafficking victims in their respective county, town, or city. This is a hindrance to the people that are in desperate need of help. Assumptions are made on inaccurate information and the public is not as informed

as they should be on human trafficking in their area and potential ways to stop it. Also, some victims of trafficking do not want to collaborate with police on investigations in which the captor is involved because they need housing, medical treatment, and money.

Although human trafficking is a very lucrative business, there are ways that people can help fight it. These include learning the indicators of human trafficking, report suspicions about someone you believe may be a victim, be a conscientious and informed consumer, volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts. Another important way to have a voice in stopping the spread of it is to write to a local government representative and let them know that you care about stopping human trafficking and ask what they are doing to address it. Other ways people can become involved in fighting trafficking is to host an awareness event to watch and discuss films about human trafficking or organize a fundraiser and donate proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization. Lastly, state and federal programs should be put in place to encourage educators to include modern slavery in their curricula.

There are also some ways that an individual can help victims of human trafficking. If you feel a person is being trafficked and the person is alone – make sure you approach them safely.

Express concern for their well-being and ask questions about their working and living conditions.

Communicate to them that they do not deserve to be hurt and that the abuse is not their fault. Their abuser may be destroying their self-esteem, so tell them good things about themselves. And you need to respect their wishes, even if you feel that they are not making the right decision.

My project relates to the power and agency topics that we discussed in class. The traffickers gain power over the victims and feel that they can do whatever they want with them.

As far as agency, the victims do not have the ability to act independently and have no voice about what happens to them.

My topic is also similar to when one person thinks they are having sex but the other one doesn’t. With sex trafficking, many of the victims have to sell themselves so that their captors can make money off of them. Whoever buys the victim thinks that they are having sex, but the victim probably does not think they are having sex. Sex trafficking is very dangerous because it can look like sex work. While sex workers consent to the activities that they engage in, sex traffickers do not. Sex workers can basically stop whenever they want and choose the people that are their customers. Sex traffickers cannot stop, unless the captors say that they can stop. They also do not have a choice in who they have sex with.

Overall, I feel that I was able to make a tool that will help some people in a scary situation. There is more information out there that people can use to protect themselves, but I just wanted to create a gateway for people to start questioning things more and giving situations more than a glance.

Lauren White is a Senior majoring in Exercise Science and minoring in Psychology. Her goal is to become a Physical Therapist and work in pediatrics. She loves to cook (vegan food that is) and share her love of animals. She has a fascination for learning new languages and plans to travel the world. She is currently involved with Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and the Exercise Science Society. Some of her hobbies include skateboarding, shopping, running, and meditating.