Human trafficking may be right next door
This is Human Trafficking Awareness Month – a time when public and government officials are asked to focus on a problem that is not just related to girls and women.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which was born out of Morality in Media, is at the forefront of the task.
Spokesperson Haley Halverson tells OneNewsNow it’s no longer a problem concentrated on the West Coast and East Coast. It is now in small-town America, largely in the form of Internet pornography.
“There’s definitely a link between Internet pornography and trafficking,” Halverson says. “A lot of performers in pornography can be defined as having been sex trafficked into it. Also in advertising, websites like Backpage often are advertising the sale of women and children who are being sexually exploited.”
Major credit cards no longer allow charges on Backpage, which generates about 80 percent of online ads for prostitution, and authorities are beginning to take a closer look.
Halverson adds that most people don’t understand boys and men are trafficked too, and not just for labor.
“We’re encouraging people to keep an eye out for anyone who appears to be unsafe, maybe not in control of their own movement, maybe a dramatic change in behavior or any physical bruises, and definitely to report that if it’s suspected trafficking,” she says.
One additional factor that would help immensely would be for the federal government to prosecute illegal pornography, which fuels the minds of people to then seek those who have been trafficked.