By Jacqui Larsson, Territorial Social Justice Ministries Director
Territorial Social Justice Department
Human Trafficking is an evil that happens all around us, but as we pray for God to open our eyes to see those being held captive in our own communities, it is vital that we are able to see the signs, recognize the red flags, but also understand the best ways to respond! It is very common for those being held in trafficking situations not to identify as victims – they will often feel that this was their choice, or their mistake, and although this may have been their only option – it was their chosen survival journey. Pimps and traffickers will make the men, women, and children they are trafficking believe that this situation is their best option, that if they escape then they will be worse off with nowhere to go, and no one to “take care of them”. Victims/survivors are made to feel unworthy, that they owe a huge debt to their traffickers, and if they try to leave, they are often “punished” physically, but also made to feel that they can’t return home as they are doing nothing more than letting their loved ones down. It is a lose, lose situation but if we, the responders, are uninformed and enter the situation with an intent to “rescue” the person being trafficked, we can sometimes do more harm than good, for example, we should not try to persuade the person being trafficked to leave their current situation, and if we give them resources there and then, we may in fact be putting them in more danger.
We need to ask questions, such as:
- What is your job like?
- Can you leave your situation/job if you want to?
- Are there rules at your job? What happens if someone doesn’t follow the rules?
- Has anyone harmed (or threatened to harm) you or your family in order to make you do something that you did not want to do?
- Has anyone threatened to call the police/immigration on you in order to make you do something you did not want to do?
- Are you allowed to talk to people outside of your home/job?
- Have you ever exchanged sex for something of value?
- Do you have an ID? Does someone else hold your ID?
- Do you have control over the money you earn?
- Is anyone forcing or pressuring you to do anything you do not want to do?
- Do you feel safe where you are living?
- Can you come and go as you please?
Please check out this snap-shot resource with helpful tips about red flags, how the survivors may feel, things to avoid, ways in which to respond according to whether they want help at this time/how old they are, and the National Hotline information.
For more information, to arrange a training session, or find out how you can get involved in this Fight for Freedom, please contact your Territorial Social Justice Ministries Director, Jacqui Larsson. www.SAJustice.US