Why Store Human Trafficking Numbers?
Okay yesterday’s post didn’t get exactly the response I was looking for. But after talking to a reader who will remain anonymous, but who is very hot and committed to me for life, I realized a few things need clarification.
Namely, why load these numbers in your phone? You’ve never seen any signs of human trafficking, and even if you do, you could call the cops. What’s the big deal?
The big deal is that neither of those statements above are completely accurate.
Human trafficking can take many forms, and the necessary responses can be very different for different situations.
Plus, having methods for fighting it saved on your phone means you can be a traveling abolitionist, and it’s a good reminder of the problem when you see it in your contact list.
I’ve outlined below a lot more detail about how to use these numbers along with, and sometimes in replacement, of calling 911.
1) The National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline
1-888-3737-888 (or 1-888-373-7888)
“First of all,” my hot anonymous reader asked, “how would you ever see signs of human trafficking in the first place?”
Well, cutie, the federal government may screw a lot of things up, but they sure did one thing right: according to federal law, any child under 18 who is forced to commit sexual acts for commercial gain is a trafficking victim. She/he is not a “prostitute.” They are being “prostituted.” No exceptions.
So if you are at a big music fest, or football game, or conference, and you see an extremely young girl who looks like a prostitute, it is very possible she is being forced to do it, even if she appears to be on drugs. If she is with an older man, or someone who is yelling at her or treating her harshly, call this number for sure.
“Secondly,” he asked, “why not just call the police?”
Good question. In the case above you should call the hotline, at least first. And here’s why: not every state has good trafficking laws, and law enforcement is rarely trained to deal with it. If the police come, they might take the trafficker but not know how to help the victim. Much worse, and more commonly, they will arrest the child for prostitution, even though under federal law it is the trafficker who is the criminal and the prostituted child who is the victim.
Calling the number above puts the situation in the hands of people who know the state law and who will work for the victim’s rights to be freed and healed. If they recommend calling law enforcement immediately, by all means do so.
The same can be true for adult victims, particularly if you see a woman dressed like a prostitute but being treated badly by an older, better dressed man. Call this number, just to be safe.
You can also use this number along with calling 911 if you see or hear about domestic servitude.
2) The Missing and Exploited Children Call Center
“With this number,” my muscle-clad reader asked, “when would I ever use it? I could just call the cops and they can handle it.”
Finding missing children is less complex than the situation outlined for the last number. In this case, I’d recommend using it because hell, it’s a missing child. Why not make every resource aware? Parents, I know you’d agree if it was your child.
So if someone runs up frantic in the mall, again, help them contact the authorities, and if you don’t find the child, call this number.
3) The Cyber Tipline
“Lastly,” he said, while flexing his biceps, “When would I ever see signs of human trafficking on the internet? And again, why not just call the cops?”
Like I mentioned in the last post, you might see a child for sale on Craigslist. That happens every day.
You can also end up on a site with a legitimate domain name that is actually used to sell children or child pornography. These groups work often in codes. You can’t necessarily crack the code, but you can find yourself awkwardly ending up somewhere you shouldn’t because you were looking for new furniture.
Don’t call the cops in this case – that would be silly! The internet is global! Have this number on hand, and report it to a national group who can do something about it.
It is not coincidence that this number is the same as the one listed above. One woman calls in a missing child report from the mall. Then a college kid sees something horrible online and calls it in. The authorities look up the site and voila! Missing kid found. Step one to recovering the child = accomplished.
Okay, yesterday was a rough day for me. Make it up to me today.
If you have any further questions, leave them in the comments. If not, for goodness’ sake, put the numbers on your phone and tell me you did, so I can feel happy!
Steve Jobs, head of Apple, recently announced that Apple would not be allowing any pornographic material of any kind on their apps for iPhone and iPad. He’s gotten a lot of heat for it, too. A little off-topic, but interesting nonetheless.