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Stop Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is here in Lake County - and it is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world.

Local youth have been targeted, and continue to be at risk.

Trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, and can be defined as “the exploitation of someone for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.”

The most common type of trafficking is sex trafficking, followed by domestic work and agriculture.

In 2021, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received 50,123 calls, texts and online chats for victims and survivors of Human Trafficking.

Currently, California ranks second among the states in the number of potential reports of human trafficking.

According to the Polaris Project 2021 report, a national non-profit that works to combat human trafficking, trafficking victims are commonly recruited by someone they know.

The top 3 risk factors for human trafficking are:

  1. Those who have recently migrated or relocated.
  2. Those who have a mental or physical health concern.
  3. Those who suffer from substance abuse.

Traffickers maintain control through force, violence, lies, and psychological abuse.

These methods cause psychological damage, and victims grapple with shame, fear, suicidal thoughts, and an inability to trust, making it difficult for them to ask for help.

As adults, we can protect our youth.

Stay educated on the issues and learn the signs of a trafficked victim. To learn more go to Polaris Project website.

Discuss the following items with your children or children you have influence over:

  1. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know on social media. Traffickers commonly use popular social media sites to lure their victims.
  2. Don’t reveal too much about yourself to people you don’t know, no matter how friendly the person may be.
  3. Never agree to meet someone you don’t know without first consulting a trusted adult such as a parent, teacher, and guidance counselor.

Report it if you suspect someone is being coerced into compelled labor or commercial sex acts, by calling 1-888-373-7888 or texting “BeFree” to (233-733).

Although this is a worldwide problem, it hits home locally here in Lake County. Take the time to learn more about this devastating issue, and protect our youth and our community.

Brock Falkenberg
Lake County Superintendent of Schools