National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Human trafficking is often a hidden crime. It can be challenging to identify since traffickers often use manipulation, coercion, and threats to control their victims.

Individuals with disabilities — whether mental or physical — are particularly vulnerable to trafficking for several reasons, including limited mobility and independence; dependence on others for care; economic vulnerability; communication challenges; and social isolation.  

Some indications that an individual is being trafficked include:

1.     Lack of control: feeling controlled by someone else and having limited or no control over personal decisions including where you live or work.
2.     Abuse and exploitation: physical and emotional abuse and being forced or coerced to engage in labor or services against your will.
3.     Fear and threats
4.     Exploitative working conditions: working long hours for little or no pay or in poor or unsafe working conditions.
5.     Debt bondage: Often traffickers will create a situation where the victim needs to work off a significant “debt” to the trafficker.  
6.     Financial control: lack of control over your own money and earning and having financial transactions controlled by someone else.

Efforts to combat human trafficking must consider the specific vulnerabilities of individuals with disabilities. At Flatrock, we advocate ensuring that prevention, protection and services are inclusive and accessible to all, to protect the rights and well-being of individuals with disabilities.  

If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, seek help immediately. Contact law enforcement or if in the United States, the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888.373.7888.