January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking is the business of stealing freedom for profit. In some cases, traffickers trick, defraud or physically force victims into providing commercial sex. In others, victims are lied to, assaulted, threatened or manipulated into working under inhumane, illegal or otherwise unacceptable conditions. It is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 24.9 million people around the world. Victims of trafficking also frequently suffer physical and mental abuse resulting in physical, sexual, and psychological trauma.
Human trafficking consists of a person knowingly:
- Recruiting, soliciting, enticing, transporting or obtaining, by any means, another person or a person under the age of eighteen years with the intent or knowledge that force, fraud or coercion will be used to subject the person to labor, services or commercial sexual activity
- Benefiting, financially or by receiving anything of value, from the labor, services or commercial sexual activity of another person with the knowledge that force, fraud or coercion was used to obtain the labor, services or commercial sexual activity.
Human Trafficking and Public Transportation
Human Trafficking & RMRTD "SAFE" Campaign
Recognizing the Signs
People may be vulnerable to trafficking if they:
- Have an unstable living situation
- Have previously experienced other forms of violence such as sexual abuse or domestic violence
- Have run away or are involved in the juvenile justice or child welfare system
- Are undocumented immigrants
- Are facing poverty or economic need
- Have a caregiver or family member who has a substance use issue
- Are addicted to drugs or alcohol
Visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) website to learn more about recognizing the signs of human trafficking.
Human Trafficking Indicators
While not an exhaustive list, these are some key red flags that could alert you to a potential trafficking situation that should be reported:
- Living with employer
- Poor living conditions
- Multiple people in cramped space
- Inability to speak to individual alone
- Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed
- Employer is holding identity documents
- Signs of physical abuse
- Submissive or fearful
- Unpaid or paid very little
- Under 18 and in prostitution
Visit the U.S. Department of State Website to learn more about identifying and assisting a trafficking victim
Who Are the Traffickers?
There is no evidence that traffickers are more likely to be of a particular race, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation. They may be family members, romantic partners, acquaintances, or strangers. Traffickers recognize and take advantage of people who are vulnerable.
Human Trafficking in New Mexico
The New Mexico Office of the Attorney General Human Trafficking Task Force works in partnership with the Life Link (service providers), U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and other key stakeholders. The sole purpose of this collaborative approach is to combat all forms of human trafficking within New Mexico- sex trafficking and labor trafficking- of foreign nationals and U.S. citizens (of all sexes and ages). This multi-disciplinary task force focuses on a victim-centered approach to identify victims, address the individualized needs of victims through quality services, and investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases at the local, state, tribal, and federal levels.
The goals of the Task Force include heightened visibility and public awareness of the problem through effective training programs, advocating for trafficking survivors in the courtroom, protection of survivors, victim-centered rescue, self-empowerment, and restoration.
New Mexico industries linked to human trafficking:
- Sex Trafficking
- Prostitution or other commercial sex venues
- Exotic Dancing/Stripping/Escort Services
- Pornography (adult and child)
- Modeling Studios
- Massage Parlors
- Labor Trafficking
- Farming/Agricultural work
- Hotel or Tourist Industries
- Domestic Servitude/Housekeeping/Nannies
National Human Trafficking Hotline
IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, CALL 911.
To get help, report a tip, or learn more:
- Call toll free: (888) 373-7888
- Text: 233733
Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocates are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking.
24/7 Confidential: View the NHTH Confidentiality Policy
Education and Outreach Training Community Partners
- Law enforcement
- Service providers (e.g. medical personnel, therapist, counselors)
- Hospitality industry
- Immigration services
- Faith based communities
- School administrations
- Tribal communities
- January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
- January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month