How to help
Public education and awareness is key for prevention of sex trafficking. These are ways the community members can do to help prevent and combat sex trafficking, according to a group of sex trafficking experts:
KNOW THE SIGNS: SEX TRAFFICKING
• If you see a situation that may be sex trafficking, do not intervene, but take as many notes as possible. Detailed notes of clothing, time, age, car make model or license plates can really help law enforcement in an investigation.
• Report it, if it seems wrong, call the police.
• Educate children, friends and family about the potential dangers of sex trafficking in social, public and online communities.
• Educate children, friends and family on healthy relationships, the dangers of manipulative behavior.
• Educate children, friends and family that purchasing sex, and sexual exploitation is not OK.
• Donate to local agencies working to prevent and combat sex trafficking. These organizations and programs provide survivors with resources and healing they desperately need to rebuild their life. Reach out to them and learn where they need help.
NOTE: It is not advised for the public to intervene in a trafficking situation. These situations are dangerous, even if they do not appear to be. It can put the trafficking victim in as much danger as yourself. If you see a potential sex trafficking situation, follow the tips above and reach out to law enforcement, the national trafficking hotline, or a local agency who handles sex trafficking cases.
KNOW THE SIGNS: VICTIMS
There are numerous signs that could indicate a someone is a victim of sex trafficking. Because every case is different and victims can be anyone, signs can appear across the spectrum.
Here are a few things you can look for, according to a group of sex trafficking experts:
• Appearing malnourished or in unkempt clothing
• A younger girl or boy without money
• Trafficking brands, or strange upside down tattoos on their lower back, neck or on the back of their thighs
• Signs of physical abuse or other injuries
• Avoiding eye contact and authority figures, and appearing nervous or anxious
• Might not be able to say where they are from
• Children may not be able to say where they go to school, continually repeating the same phrase, often taught by a trafficker
• Often times appearing as a younger girl with an older boyfriend
• Victims wearing nice and expensive clothing items, despite looking like they wouldn’t be able to afford them
• Might even be escorted with a older friend of the same sex who talks for them
Trafficking also can happen online, and a large part of it happens on social media:
• Watch for children or people you know posting inappropriate photos
• Making strange posts, or receiving vulgar or strange comments
Businesses should look for signs as well:
• In hotels, it might appear as one room with constant visitors
• Constant stays on a regular schedule
Source: Eugene Police Department Detective Curt Newell, Trafficking Intervention Coordinator for SASS Tamara LeRoy, Oregon Department of Justice Trafficking Coordinator Amanda Swanson, and international trafficking expert Cyndi Romine.
HELP PREVENT TRAFFICKING
These are tips from Hope Ministries to help prevent/combat sex trafficking:
• Raise awareness
• Have conversations with your circles
• Host and educational event
Learn what you can do and what to look for:
• Involve children and youth
• Help create safe spaces for young people to discuss trafficking
• Empower young people and inform them on the dangers and how to protect themselves
• Support legislation
• Organize groups to write, call or meet with elected officials
• Research pending legislation on a national and state level
Hope Ranch Ministries and Lane County Against Trafficking suggest these documentaries and books to learn more about trafficking:
“A Path Appears” (2015)
“Nefarious: Merchant of Souls” (2011)
“Waiting for the Light: Portland’s Sex Trafficking Crisis” (2014)
“In Plain Sight” (2014)
“Sex + Money” (2011)
“I Am Jane Doe” (2017)
“The Price of Sex” (2011)
“Stopping Traffic” (2017)
“Half the Sky“ by Kristoff and WuDunn
“Walking Prey“ by Holly Smith
“The Natashas“ by Victor Malarek
“The Johns“ by Victor Malarek
“Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor“ by Cecil Murphey and Katariina PhD Rosenblatt
“Girls Like Us“ by Rachel Lloyd
“Made in the U.S.A.“ by Alisa Jordheim
“Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery“ by Siddharth Kara
“God in a Brothel: An Undercover Journey Into Sex Trafficking and Rescue“ by Daniel Walker