Not all the missing children recovered in recent high profile U.S. Marshals operations were victims of human trafficking. But what we know about those operations reconfirms what we know about how sex trafficking happens in the vast majority of situations.
When most people think about child sex trafficking they think of stories involving kidnapping, windowless vans, and chains. However, focusing on these rarer examples may cause us to miss out on the realities of how trafficking typically happens.
The Wayfair theory, like other viral stories, can potentially result in overwhelming services meant for victims, as well as increasing online harassment and privacy intrusions of people mistakenly believed to be victims. These theories also detract from the knowledge we do have about how sex trafficking actually works, and how we can prevent it.
The U.S. Supreme Court decided two cases that together increase protections for the LGBTQ+ community and undocumented immigrant youth. These decisions are positive steps in the work to end sex and labor trafficking, both directly and indirectly.
While traffickers target many vulnerable populations, there are some circumstances or risk factors that traffickers often try to exploit, such as homelessness, or past histories of abuse or discrimination.
We can’t just depend on law enforcement, service providers, or concerned citizens to intervene in a potential trafficking situation. We have to equip individuals with the tools to recognize and respond to trafficking within their own communities.