Last month was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The trouble is, what does human trafficking look like? Most people think of pimps trafficking young women for sex on street corners, or construction or factory workers forced to work long hours for little or no pay. But it is not always easy — in fact it can be very difficult — to spot a victim of this form of modern slavery.
Law enforcement officials tell us that traffickers prey on the vulnerable among us: people who are poor, uneducated, or who are hooked on drugs, runaways, or people who are desperate in some way. Worst of all, they prey on children.
The Polaris Project, which runs the national human trafficking hotline, reports that traffickers lure child sex trafficking victims via text now more than in person. Yep. They can get to your child through her or his phone, or through one of their social media outlets. They just start a conversation and it goes from there: “You are so pretty. You should be a model. I’m a photographer…”
The experts say to look for these signs that a young person may be being trafficked: physical abuse such