By Joel Mayeski
Human Trafficking Awareness & Prevention Coordinator
Awareness is one of the greatest weapons against human trafficking. As more people become aware, the better the chance of stopping human trafficking and impacting the lives of millions around the world.
But, with limited resources, where to focus the message of awareness?
North Carolina is joining other states, including California, Texas and Oregon, with a sign program targeting human trafficking awareness at liquor stores. Signs also will be posted at other venues, including truck stops, rest areas, welcome centers, job centers and emergency rooms across the state. The thought is that these places may be more likely frequented by both victims and perpetrators of human trafficking than other public venues.
"These signs will let victims know there is help on the other end of a phone call and help educate the public so we can look for the telltale signs of trafficking," North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said at a news conference inside a Raleigh liquor store. “Research has shown that posting these signs is the most important provision for increasing the number of human trafficking arrests in a state,” noted Libby Magee Coles, Chair, NC Human Trafficking Commission.
The program also sends a clear message to human traffickers that North Carolina is taking a stronger stance against trafficking and related illegal activity.
Around the globe, the fight against human trafficking is bringing multiple partners together. Civic organizations, NGOs, government agencies, as well as law enforcement are working together in unprecedented ways to combat the scourge of modern day slavery.
Michael Hart, CEO of ZOE International, an NGO fighting child trafficking, reflecting on his experience with partnering across public and private sectors said, “Together as the good guys, let’s fight; and together, as the good guys, we are destined to win.”
ZOE International, a U.S. 501(c)(3) NGO, has been combating human trafficking on the ground for 15 years in Southeast Asia and is active in Thailand, Japan, Australia, Mexico, and the United States.