Polaris, the leading organization working to prevent and reduce sex and labor trafficking in North America, issued the following statement in response to accusations of human trafficking by Wyoming congressional candidate Harriet Hageman.
“Baseless accusations like Hageman’s represent the very worst and most dangerous kind of political cynicism – an attempt to gain attention and support on the backs of some of our nation’s most vulnerable people.
When politicians like Hageman mislead the public about human trafficking, they make it far more difficult for people who are actually at risk of being trafficked to understand their own vulnerabilities and make it less likely that victims will come forward and seek help.
Weaponizing human trafficking against ideological or political opponents undermines our urgent and nonpartisan mission to end the trafficking, exploitation and abuse of the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Named after the North Star, an historical symbol of freedom, Polaris works to reshape the systems that make sex and labor trafficking possible and profitable in North America. For more than a decade, Polaris has assisted thousands of victims and survivors through the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline and built the largest known U.S. data set on the crime. With the guidance of survivors, and working with public and private-sector partners, we use that data to understand and improve the way trafficking is identified, how victims and survivors are assisted, and how we can prevent this abuse at the scale of the problem – 25 million people worldwide robbed of the basic right to choose how they live and work. Learn more at www.polarisproject.org. Follow Polaris on Facebook, on Twitter, or Instagram.