Human Trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in the United States. The 2016 Department of State TIP Report indicated that there are now more U.S.-born victims than foreign-born victims within the U.S. Middle school and high school students are the most vulnerable targets for sex trafficking.
In a 2013 study, 36% of victims reported that their trafficker was a family member, 27% indicated that their trafficker was a boyfriend or partner, 14% an employer or friend of the family. This same study revealed that the vast majority of traffickers were known to their victims prior to their trafficking experience; only 9% were reported to be strangers. (Governor's Council on Human Trafficking).
Some of the tactics traffickers use: familial recruitment, intimate partner recruitment, and social media recruitment. Human trafficking is a $32 billion a year industry. In Denver, a pimp's average income is $31,200 a week!
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, in 2016 Colorado had 120 reported cases, up from 77 in 2015 and 67 in 2014 (https://humantraffickinghotline.org/states). One in 6 runaways reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2016 were likely victims of sex trafficking (www.missingkids.com). The FBI held a nationwide sting operation the weekend of October 14th. There were 17 victims of sex trafficking rescued in Denver. The two youngest were 3 months and 5 years old. This is an unacceptable tragedy.
Some ways to recognize victims of trafficking:
- Evidence of being controlled
- Evidence of inability to move or leave a job
- Bruises or other signs of physical abuse
- Not speaking on own behalf and/or non-English speaking
(Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado)
Where to go to report possible trafficking and/or to go for help:
National Hotline: 888-3737-888
Colorado Human Trafficking Hotline: 866-455-5075
Put these numbers in your phone!
In an effort to combat Human Trafficking, Calvary Worship Center of Colorado Springs launched the Unveiled ministry in 2015; a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase awareness/public education, support law enforcement agencies and local recovery/support organizations. As part of this mission we provide "Unveiled Bags" to law enforcement agencies (e.g., Colorado Springs Police Department's Human Trafficking division as well as the FBI). These bags include personal hygiene items and a change of clothes for victims rescued from sex trafficking. Each bag costs Unveiled a minimum of $100 dollars, plus shipping. Our first year we provided 70 bags to local law enforcement. In just the first 4 months of 2017 we have already provided 154 bags. In fact 94 bags were recently provided to the FBI for their annual national effort to rescue those trapped in human trafficking. We are also providing miscellaneous items to help in after-care for survivors.
If you would like someone from Unveiled to speak to a group you are associated with about human trafficking please contact Wendy Smith at 719-323-0333 & email@example.com or Mary Bofill at firstname.lastname@example.org.