By Leah Burdeaux

Human trafficking awareness
January was first declared as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in 2010.
Since then, January has been a time to acknowledge those experiencing enslavement and those who have escaped.
Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human traffickers generate hundreds of billions of dollars in profits by trapping millions of people in horrific situations around the world, including here in the U.S. 

What Is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. It involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain human labor or commercial sex act. Victims of trafficking can be anyone and live anywhere. (1)

Communities that experience hardships such as adversity, violence, discrimination, economic vulnerability, high crime rates, or dependence may be easy prey for traffickers. (2)

It is our goal to prevent these heinous acts by raising human trafficking awareness.

Facts and Statistics about Human Trafficking

  • 63% of identified traffickers were men and 37% women. (3)
  • Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90. (3)
  • The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12 to 14-year-old. Many victims are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children. (3)
human being exploited.

Types of Human Trafficking

There are six kinds of human trafficking:

1. Domestic Servitude

Employees working in private homes are forced or coerced into serving and/or fraudulently convinced that they have no option to leave. (4)

43% of victims are trafficked domestically within national borders. (3)

2. Sex Trafficking

Women, men, or children that are forced into the commercial sex industry and held against their will by force, fraud, or coercion. (4)

  • 79% of identified victims of trafficking are women and children, and 21% are men. (3)
  • 72% people exploited in the sex industry are women. (3)

3. Forced Labor

Human beings are forced to work under the threat of violence and for no pay. These slaves are treated as property and exploited to create a product for commercial sale. (4)

4. Bonded Labor

Individuals that are compelled to work in order to repay a debt and unable to leave until the debt is repaid. It is the most common form of enslavement in the world. (4)

5. Child Labor

Any enslavement — whether forced labor, domestic servitude, bonded labor, or sex trafficking — of a child. (4)

6. Forced Marriage

Women and children who are forced to marry another without their consent or against their will. (4)


There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.

According to the U.S. State Department, 600 - 800 thousand people are trafficked across international border every year, of which 80% are female and half are children. (3)

Signs of Human Trafficking

Common Work and Living Conditions: (5)

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes.
  • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp/manager.
  • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips.
  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours.
  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work.
  • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off.
  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work.
  • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc...)

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior:

  • 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 medical care and/or is denied medical services by employer.
  • Appears malnourished or shows signs of repeated exposure to harmful chemicals.
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture.

Lack of Control:

  • Has few or no personal possessions.
  • 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 staying/address.
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in.

This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. The red flags in this list may not be present in all trafficking cases.

Each individual indicator should be taken in context, not be considered in isolation, nor should be taken as “proof” that human trafficking is occurring. Additionally, cultural differences should also be considered. (6)

Human Trafficking Laws

In the United States, the Trafficking Victims Violence Prevention Act of 2000 (TVPA) defined and classified human trafficking into two main categories: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. (7)

  • Sex trafficking involves the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person forced to perform such an act is under the age of eighteen years old.
  • Labor trafficking is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery. Such violations might include domestic services, manufacturing, construction, migrant laboring and other services obtained through subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.

According to federal law, any minor under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of the presence of force, fraud, or coercion. (8)

woman afraid

Causes of Human Trafficking

The root cause of human trafficking are traffickers. They are able to identify their next victim through circumstances of poverty, unemployment, displacement, lack of knowledge/experience, broken families, and even cultural practices. (9)

  • Trafficking primarily involves exploitation, which comes in many forms, including forcing victims into prostitution, subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude and compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography. (3)
  • According to some estimates, approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation. (3)

Top Cities for Human Trafficking

As said throughout the post, trafficking could happen anywhere. As said throughout the post, trafficking could happen anywhere. But the most common places are Washington, D.C., New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Orlando, Miami, and Houston.

  • California harbors 3 of the FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas on the nation: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. (3)
  • The National Human Trafficking Hotline receives more calls from Texas than any other state in the US. 15% of those calls are from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. (3)

It’s no question as to why main metropolitan areas are a hub for traffickers, considering poverty, displacement, and unemployment occurs more often in high-volume cities.

Raising Awareness for Human Trafficking

The main thing we can do is raise awareness. It’s vital that we encourage many people to get involved to end human trafficking.

Here are ways to bring awareness against human traffic:


Spread the word about human trafficking and encourage your networks to get involved on social media. Popular hashtags are #humantraffickingawareness #endit #humanrights #enditmovement #modernslavery


Prevention is key. The most effective way to prevent human trafficking is to raise awareness everywhere about the tricks traffickers use to find and exploit vulnerable people. Anyone can help with this effort. Talk to your co-workers, fellow church members, neighbors, family, and friends about the reality of modern slavery. Join local organizations and volunteer your time. Donate money to groups educating the public.Speak up at school board meetings, insisting that children are taught what to look for.

Learn the Signs

Know what are the red flags or indicators of potential human trafficking and contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1 (888) 373-7888.

Contact your Representatives

Contact your government and let them know you are serious about ending human trafficking.

Volunteer or Get Involved

Get with a local anti-trafficking organization in your area.

Sign Up

Join the United Way movement to end human trafficking. Text END SLAVERY to 51555 to learn how you can be a champion for the cause.

Know your Slavery Footprint

Whether it is the clothes we wear, the coffee we drink, or the phones we use to communicate, products that we use or consume every day may have been produced with trafficked or slave labor. Learn how slavery may be touching your everyday life.

Avoid prostitution and pornography. Many of those involved in sex-work and pornography have been trafficked and cannot leave.

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

In 2010, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation, designating each January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The anniversary of this proclamation (January 11) became known as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. (10)

There are other days around the world that are used to raise awareness:

  • July 30 is World Day against Trafficking in Persons, which is observed by the United Nations (UN).
  • October 18 is Anti-Slavery Day in the UK.
  • December 10 is the International Human Rights Day.
  • Many organizations have days that they focus their awareness efforts as well. For example, the End It Movement has the Shine a Light on Slavery Day every February 7.

Order a Wristband

How do we observe National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month? With a custom wristband!

Purchase anti-trafficking wristbands to wear and hand out to raise awareness.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to get your own wristband for this cause. Just click the button below to order!

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, we, as Rapid Wristbands and as a society, have one main goal - to raise awareness about human trafficking and end it for once and for all. 

We can help you design your human trafficking custom wristband to raise awareness year-round, or in coordination with these national and international efforts.

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What Is Human Trafficking (1)

What Does Human Trafficking Look Like? (2)


Slavery Today (4)

Recognizing the Signs(5)

Recognize the Signs(6)

Background on Human Trafficking (7)

Recognizing the Signs (8)



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