Get Educated About Human Trafficking
Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.
Language barriers, fear of their traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement frequently keep victims from seeking help, making human trafficking a hidden crime.
Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. They look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.
Many myths and misconceptions exist. Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Not all indicators listed are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.
The safety of the public as well as the victim is paramount. Do not attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to any suspicions. It is up to law enforcement to investigate suspected cases of human trafficking.
Human Trafficking Indicators
Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help safe a life. Here are some common indicators to help recognize human trafficking.
Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
Has a child stopped attending school?
Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
Is the person often in the company of someone to who he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of their situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?
Please note: Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.
In February of 2018, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) released their "Human Trafficking, Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, and Commercial Sexual Exploitation Annual Report" for calendar year 2017.
One of the limitations of the report is that only 40% of the identified anti-trafficking service providers have given data for this report. For the organizations that did provide data in 2017, a total of 618 confirmed and prospective (high risk) victims were reported. This was a 52% increase (234) of victims identified over the previous year. One caveat about the data: the numbers of victims may be duplicated. Due to the lack of data collection in the United States, it is impossible to get an accurate prevalence count of victims when there are many agencies providing support with little collaboration in sharing data.
Human trafficking is not just an issue in foreign countries. It's a real issue across America and now throughout our own state. According national statistics, one of the busiest trafficking corridors stretches from Houston to New Orleans. Victims ultimately reach every corner of Louisiana.
Since opening, Metanoia has provided resources to a total of 115 young ladies, with 21 girls participating in the residential program in 2019. Of those served with housing, 19 are born Louisianans, with our youngest resident being age 12. We are honored to help and walk along side each young lady in their healing journey.
Staff, volunteers, interns, contractors, residents and legal guardians may file a grievance without fear of retaliation. Grievances concerning alleged discrimination, abuse or neglect may be reported to the following agencies:
Louisiana State Department of Children and Family Services Licensing Section
P. O. Box 260036
Baton Rouge, LA, 70826
Human Resources Officer
Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement
PO Box 3133
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3133
Board President or Program Director
PO Box 178
Zachary, Louisiana 70791
Complaints may also be filed directly with the following agencies:
Office for Civil Rights Office of Justice Programs U.S. Department of Justice
810 Seventh Street,
N.W. Washington, DC 20531
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
1555 Poydras Street, Suite 1900
New Orleans, LA 70112-4540
Louisiana Commission on Human Rights Governor's Office
PO Box 94094
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9094