Right now, human trafficking is occurring across the state and throughout the nation. Raising awareness in all communities across Illinois and encouraging the public to recognize the signs of human trafficking are some critical steps that can be taken to help end human trafficking.
In January, the nation observes Human Trafficking Awareness Month, however, the fight to end these types of human rights violations must continue 365 days a year.
In 2017, 100 cases of human trafficking in Illinois were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, but undoubtedly, many more cases went unreported. No community or state, including Illinois, is immune to this form of modern-day slavery.
Experts have found that identifying key indicators of human trafficking is a crucial step to helping victims. Below are some of the possible signs of human trafficking:
· Does the person show signs of physical harm?
· Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
· Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
· Has this child stopped attending school?
· Is the person free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes?
· Has the person become isolated from family, friends, or sources of support?
· Has the person demonstrated a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
· Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
· Is the person disoriented or confused, or show signs of mental or physical abuse?
· Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
· Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
· Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers?
· Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
· Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
It’s important to recognize that these indicators are not always present in human trafficking situations, and the presence or absence of any of these indicators does not necessarily mean an individual is a victim of human trafficking.
If you or someone you know is, or may be a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) or the Illinois Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-252-2873).