Human Trafficking in the US: Worst States May Surprise You

Women vanishing from grocery stores, young children disappearing on their way home from school. Sounds like something out of a major motion picture movie when in fact, it’s actually a result of human trafficking – and it’s happening in even the sleepiest of midwestern towns.

Human trafficking is on the rise in many American cities, some of which may surprise you because they’re thought to be “safe.” Places like Jacksonville, Florida, a prominent southern vacation hot spot, for example.

Traffickers either kidnap or coerce unsuspecting women and children to come with them against their will. From there, they are held captive, drugged and then sold to the highest bidder throughout a seedy criminal underground that some experts believe may have ties to nearly every country on Earth.

Victims are exploited for violence, organ harvesting, forced labor, sexual acts and domestic servitude. Traffickers profit from using innocent prisoners for their own personal financial gain.

The drug trade is closely intertwined with the trafficking industry. Drugging victims puts the trafficker in control; getting them addicted to substances like heroin keeps them coming back and begging for more. Sadly, many victims stay drugged until the ring is busted by law enforcement or they succumb to their abusers.

California and Texas are also hotspots for human traffickers.Unsuspecting victims are targeted via the internet through social media ploys, fake online dating profiles, or bystanders on the street who pretend to innocently ask for help or directions.

The problem doesn’t end in the U.S, as we previously mentioned. It reaches over borders and stretches to nearly every corner on Earth. The International Labour Organization reports over 40.3 million people around the world are forced into slavery, marriage or detainment against their will.

The Department of Homeland Security wants you to do your part in your community. If you see something or someone acting suspicious, report it to local authorities or contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Don’t worry about being wrong; it’s better to apologize later than to miss saving a child, a woman, or a vulnerable adult.

As for your own safety, you can do a lot to improve that, too. Stay safe by letting others know where you are and avoid meeting up with strangers to buy or sell things online.

Most people feel like they live in a safe neighborhood. But keep in mind Human trafficking is on the rise. Diligence is key until every trafficker is behind bars.

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