Human Trafficking Awareness Update

April Rothweiler, YouthHOPE

February 25th marked the 4th annual End It Movement, where millions of people stood up to bring awareness to the reality that is modern day slavery. By wearing a red X on their hands, people like you and me let the world know that we are not okay with trafficking.

This is only the beginning though. Much more than wearing our red X proudly, we must DO something about it.

Over 500 “Johns” (men who buy sex) and 30 pimps (those who sell sex) were arrested prior to the Super Bowl this year. That isn’t counting the ones who were caught during the Super Bowl. This yearly sporting event is prime real estate for trafficking underage, unwilling youth. And it isn’t the only event that uses the large crowds for this advantage…

What would you do if you encountered a girl (around the age of 14) accompanying a much older man, looking uncomfortable and shy, appearing disheveled and disoriented, not speaking or looking up? Would questions about her safety cross your mind or would you not even notice? The truth is, many people have no idea what signs to look for to identify a victim. They don’t even know where to turn to learn. Even further, if they have identified a victim, they don’t know where to report it. (1-888-373-7888)

I implore you! Find a way to get informed!!! I promise, there are local organizations that are willing to train you for FREE! It is sooo worth the 1-2 hours it takes. If you really cannot spare the time to physically go to a training, read up on the signs online! In America, we average around 23 hours per week online, and I know you can spare one of those hours!

Here are some local organizations you can turn to for help in the Fort Myers area:

Be The Light

Wings of Shelter

SWFL Human Trafficking Coalition