North Texas Daily

Human trafficking is something to be aware of on college campuses and off

Human trafficking is something to be aware of on college campuses and off

Human trafficking is something to be aware of on college campuses and off
October 10
23:20 2019

Human trafficking is one of those issues that most people see as a problem but don’t recognize it as a problem to the scale that it really is.

According to the Global Slavery Index, there are 40.8 million slaves in the world as of 2016.

Since 2007, the Polaris Project, a well-known U.S. based anti-trafficking organization, has handled over 51,000 cases through its National Human Trafficking Hotline. Human trafficking may seem like a foreign thing to many of us, but it much closer to home than you may think.

Texas comes in second for the state with the most human trafficking cases, falling just behind California.

This article and these statistics are not meant to scare you but instead to educate and to become more aware of the problem and get involved in ways to keep yourself and others safe. 

Trafficking does not always happen like it did in the movie “Taken,” either.

Often times, a trafficker is someone in your sphere of influence and not a stranger that just kidnaps you off the street. College students should be specifically cautious around dating sites and large public gatherings. A trafficker could use manipulation and lure tactics as a way to invite you into a prostitution ring or a brothel, and by the time you realize what’s happening, it’s too late.

I’m not telling you to panic at every person that tries to talk to you in public, nor am I telling you that every date on Tinder is looking to traffic you. Instead, it’s all about being aware of your environment and surroundings.

There’s a long list of signs regarding human trafficking, including not being paid directly for work, not being allowed to leave at will and/or experiencing threatening behaviors from employers. At the end of the day, it’s always good to have a little bit of caution.

Toward the beginning of 2017, Derail Green, Rickey Brice Jr. and Brian Johnson allegedly gang raped a then 18-year-old freshman student in their off-campus apartment. Green and Johnson then, allegedly, asked her over the phone to participate in an organized prostitution ring, or “escort service,” provided to the staff of visiting athletic teams.

An assistant basketball coach from Nicholls State University was arrested in connection with the prostitution ring after paying money for sexual acts from a UNT student affiliated with the ring. Despite the incident and prostitution occurring off campus, one thing is for sure: sex trafficking was in our own backyard. 

With all this being said, what exactly can we do about it?

Firstly, start with educating yourself and others about the topic. Don’t turn a blind eye to the trafficking that could be going on around you. Be careful when you’re at a party and beware of red flags that could lead to controlling and detrimental relationships.

Another thing you can do to help those affected by trafficking is to get involved in anti-trafficking movements. UNT has a new organization on campus called “Students Combating Trafficking.” The organization meets every Thursday night, and they learn about topics relating to human trafficking. They are also starting to volunteer with the organization “Rescue Her” which partners with trafficking victims in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Even joining other activist groups on campus can help open your eyes to what’s going on in the world, and it can allow you to try to make a change.

Another way to help is by being conscious of your everyday purchases. Sure that shirt was 3 dollars online, but why was it only three dollars?  The Slavery Footprint quiz gives you a small insight into how many people in forced labor you have “working for you.” The thought can be unsettling, but the quiz allows you to reevaluate your lifestyle.

At the end of the day, college students should get educated on human trafficking going on in their area, and they should be aware enough to protect themselves and others.  

Featured Illustration: Zahraa Hassan

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Natalie Taylor

Natalie Taylor

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