Human sex trafficking is the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world today, second only to drug trafficking and tied with illegal arms, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being prostituted in the United States.
Officials with the Governor's Office Human Trafficking Prevention Commission say human trafficking isn't obvious and warn residents to be aware of the following signs of a victim:
- Is fearful, anxious depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
- Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
- Avoids eye contact
- Poor physical health
- Lacks healthcare
- Appears malnourished
- Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
- Has few or no personal possessions
- Loss of sense of time
- Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account. Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
- Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
- Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is in
- Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
Officials say you should use your gut and report victims of human trafficking immediately.
To request help or report suspected human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Or text HELP to BeFree (233733).
You can also call Louisiana State Police at LA Safe 1-800-434-8007.
More information can also be found at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/otip.