“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Human trafficking is the kidnapping or recruiting, and then transport or imprisonment of a person against their will. Unfortunately, this isn’t a problem that happens in some third world country but rather a very serious and growing problem here in the United States. Often referred to as modern-day slavery, victims of human trafficking are generally subjected to forced sexual exploitation or forced labor. Traffickers use manipulation, physical abuse, mental abuse, coercion, isolation, financial control and threats of violence against the victims’ loved ones to keep them under control. While women and teenage girls are the most prevalent victims of human trafficking, men and boys can also be victims so don’t overlook them.

Traffickers exert such strong control tactics over their victims, they frequently transport them through airports and train stations. Human trafficking victims are quite literally hidden in plain sight. You can make a difference! Learning how to spot the signs that someone could be a victim of human trafficking might just save a life. Here’s what to look for:

If you believe you have recognized a victim of human trafficking, exercise personal safety to avoid a potentially dangerous situation for yourself or the victim. Do not intentionally approach the victim or trafficker(s). If there is a safe way to notify a member of law enforcement without losing sight of the victim or being noticed by the trafficker, do so. This is not always possible, so please get out your cell phone right now and save the following information so you can act quickly and safely should you spot a human trafficking victim hidden in plain sight: Save the number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline – 1.888.373.7888 and if you cannot call them or 911 without attracting attention to yourself, TEXT 233733 to reach an anti-trafficking advocate. Having this information already stored in your phone saves precious time should you recognize a victim of human trafficking.