January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and the Pasco Sheriff’s Office (PSO) is partnering with the Pasco County Commission on Human Trafficking to prevent and respond to human trafficking cases.
The PSO says everyone can play a vital role by recognizing common warning signs and reporting potential human trafficking activity, according to a news release.
It is important to understand and recognize common indicators of trafficking. Physical signs of trafficking can include evidence of violence or untreated wounds, exhaustion and malnourishment, addictions or even branding.
Social and interpersonal signs can include being accompanied by a controlling individual, isolation from friends or family, little to no possessions, being severely underpaid or paid nothing at all for their work, and not being in control of their money or personal documents such as their driver’s license, the release said.
Mental and emotional signs can include low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, fearful behavior and not identifying as a victim of trafficking.
Behavioral signs can include individuals being submissive and nervous, avoiding eye contact with others, being afraid of law enforcement personnel and not being permitted to speak for themselves.
Rapid reporting of potential trafficking activity can help end human trafficking.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is a national, toll-free number, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in over 200 languages. The hotline number is 1-888-373-7888, and is a safe place to report tips, seek services and ask for help.
Discreet text messages or online chat communication also is available by texting “BEFREE” (233733) or by visiting HumanTraffickingHotline.org.