Right now around the world there are more than 20 million victims of human trafficking.
One Michigan State Police trooper says more people need to know how to help victims, and that there’s no one type of victim. In fact, anyone can be a victim of labor, domestic servitude or sex trafficking.
“The myth is that a lot of times it’s people that initially might be having issues in their lives,” Lieutenant Darren Green says, “but they get drawn into that and that turns into a trafficking-type issue.”
The reality is that it can happen to anyone, just like anyone can help stop it from happening.
One session during the conference laid out specific things people can do to help fight human trafficking.
“People think that human trafficking is this huge, huge topic and that it’s something that they can’t get involved with,” MSU student and panelist Lauren Vollinger says, “and it’s very overwhelming to be honest when you start learning more about it, and why it happens and why it continues to happen. So it’s important for people to not be overwhelmed with all that information and to have steps that they can take to make even a little bit of a difference daily.”
Vollinger says getting information about trafficking from credible sources helps. She also says you can donate to organizations that fight human trafficking, and keep hotline numbers on hand in case you come across someone you think may be a victim. She say beyond that, keeping the conversation going is half the battle.
“Having conversations with people, even in your personal life. So friends, family, talking about maybe what you’ve learned when you did research on those sites. And really keep talking about it.”
And with more conversations and education, experts say there will be fewer victims.