BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — According to experts, human trafficking is on the rise and the U.S is top 3 in the world for reported cases.
”There’s actually cases in Houston where neighbors have paid attention to those warning signs and been able to identify trafficking victim,” said Elaine Andino, the director of partnerships at United Against Human Trafficking.
A community who is educated on the matter of human trafficking can save the lives of many.
”We are very committed to spreading awareness for our community because when our community is knowledgeable, they are the eyes and ears for what has happened,” said Susan Peters, the founder and global director of Unbound.
Many believe that human trafficking only has one target, but this is not the case.
”Trafficking has a misconception of just being women and children and while women and children are trafficked at a high rate it absolutely affects men, men are trafficked for both labor and sex,” Andino said.
A home in Houston was smuggling 29 men and because one individual was able to escape and community members witnessed the cry for help over two dozen individuals are now safe.
”Now we have a lot more community members who are engaged who want to fight who want to help their learning what labor and sex trafficking is and then how to be involved in their communities," Andino added.
Community members also include industry experts who have more of a chance to come in counter with victims.
”There’s lots of industries that intersect with human trafficking really teaching those professionals what to do, so we have nurses and doctors and lawyers and fireman and teachers and those that are in the child welfare system all of them intersect with human trafficking,” said Andino.
As more members of a community continue to increase their knowledge and awareness more victims can be found and taken into safety. According to the Human Trafficking Hotline, in 2019 there were over 11,000 cases reported.