By Andrea Cross
Awareness is one of the greatest weapons against human trafficking. When airport, taxi, Uber, hotel, convenience store, truck stop, rest area, welcome center, job center, and emergency room staff are aware about the signs of trafficking they are better equipped to recognize when they have contact with both victims and perpetrators of human trafficking. As more people become aware, the better the chance of stopping human trafficking and impacting the lives of millions around the world.
The United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that 42% of victims were detected from outside of their borders. This makes places like airports, bus stations, and train stations, prime locations to spot human trafficking. (CBTravel)
Around the globe, the fight against human trafficking is bringing multiple partners together in unprecedented ways to combat the evil of modern day slavery.
Michael Hart, CEO of ZOE International, reflected on his experience with partnering across public and private sectors by saying, “Together as the good guys, let’s fight; and together, as the good guys, we are destined to win.”
ZOE International, 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.
Know the signs
ZOE has a short video that explains the signs to look for to protect yourself and others. Watch it here!
What to do
If you do suspect a case of trafficking or you see someone in danger please use the following country numbers to notify authorities:
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888 or Text “HELP” to 233733
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1300
Or call the ZOE Child Rescue Team 0801 318 108
Australian Federal Police on 131AFP (131237) or email AOCC-Client-Liaison@afp.gov.au
Polaris Japan: 0120-924-839
Lighthouse Center for Human Trafficking Victims: 0120-879-871
Yorisoi Hotline Helpline for Foreigners: 0120 279 338
National Helpline Against Trafficking in Persons: 5533-5533
The Airports Council International has produced a free “Combatting Human Trafficking Handbook” for its staff along with other companies within the travel industry such as Grab and various hotel chains, who have also begun training their workers on what to look out for in regards to identifying a trafficking victim.
What is the first thing most travelers do when they leave an airport? That’s right, look for a taxi - or maybe even get an Uber or a Grab.
Drivers who "often unwittingly become the first point of contact for traffickers or victims, at airports or bus terminals" may prove to be very helpful in the detection of criminal activity.”
From the moment travelers leave their homes, they can be on the lookout for signs of trafficking within airports, at stations, and all around them. Travelers, cross paths with all walks of life on business trips and when traveling for leisure. When made aware of how to identify suspicious behavior, they could be able to help put a stop to trafficking attempts.
Sight Magazine recently reported, "From airlines to hotels, the travel industry is on the front line of the fight against trafficking.”