Group using awareness month to educate community on human trafficking
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Jan. 10, 2022) – Tusc Against Trafficking has been sharing information and safety tips on social media for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month here in January.
You can find them on the organization’s Facebook page or visit tuscagainsttrafficking.com to listen to a 10-part series on the grooming process and what human trafficking looks like in Tuscarawas County.
Facilitator Kristie Campbell-Meiser says it can and does occur here. It just doesn’t look like what you might expect.
“I think a lot of the time people picture these scary men in a big white van coming up and snatching women and children off the street, but that’s not what happens here. A lot of the time what happens here is that it’s a loved one or partner or family members that are tracking an individual who is still going to work, still going to school. They’re home at dinner time.”
Campbell-Meiser says the signs that someone is being trafficked can be subtle and include someone seeming incredibly fearful all of the time and missing a lot of work or school. They may also have very few personal belongings or ones that are inexplicably expensive.
“Doesn’t really seem like they should have the income for these things but somehow they’re always showing up with like a really nice purse or really nice shoes.”
She says if you suspect someone is being trafficked, don’t confront them about it since doing so could put them in danger.
“Do it in a very private place if you’re going to ask questions, and you shouldn’t directly ask if they’re being trafficked. You should ask things like: ‘What’s your job like? Can you leave if you want to?'”
If that’s not possible or their answers don’t alleviate your fears, Meiser says call local law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
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