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January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and serves to remind us of the urgency and prevalence of human trafficking in cities and towns across the United States. Distinct from prostitution, human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some form of labor or commercial sex act.
Despite perceptions that human trafficking primarily occurs across oceans and outside of U.S. borders, the 2018 Global Slavery Index estimates that, on any given day in 2016, there were 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States. And, according to a 2011 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 83% of sex trafficking victims in the United States are U.S. citizens.
This #TakeActionTuesday, take action to eliminate human trafficking in the U.S. and find out what your representatives are doing to address this pervasive national issue:
- Get Informed. Despite the prevalence (and rise) of reported cases in urban, suburban, and rural areas of the U.S., human trafficking remains widely-misunderstood and often underestimated. Check out this fact sheet to better understand the landscape of human trafficking in the U.S and the communities that are most impacted.
- Support Local Organizations. With the current lapse in the authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), many direct-service organizations are without critical federal funds that allow them to provide daily resources to survivors of sex trafficking and other forms gender-based violence. Find out which organizations service survivors in your community, and ask how you can help.
- Contact Your Representatives. Find out how your elected officials are helping to advance legislation that protects and serves human trafficking survivors, while holding perpetrators accountable. Visit the AIT action center to contact your representatives today.