As the world’s fastest growing crime, generating over $100 billion per year, Human trafficking is a tragedy taking place everyday, everywhere, including here in our home town of Colorado Springs.
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion in exchange for labor, services, or a commercial sexual act.
Causing someone under the age of 18 to engage in a commercial sexual act, regardless of using force, fraud, or coercion is human trafficking under US Law. Traffickers will use various forms of force, fraud, and coercion to control and exploit victims including imposing of debt, fraudulent employment opportunities, false promises of love or better life, phycological coercion, and violence or threats of violence. This tragic crime hinges on the exploitation of another person. Often people think human trafficking must involve the victim being transported from one place to another however, this is not the case at all. It does not require transportation to be considered a crime and can be committed against an individual who has never left his or her hometown.
Victims can be of ANY race, gender, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class. Many victims do not seek help either due to extreme feelings of vulnerability, fear, and even guilt, absorbing the responsibility for the crime as their own. Traffickers will many times exploit these vulnerabilities to victimize people.
The primary industries, legitimate and illegitimate include those of forced labor and sex trafficking.
DHS law enforcement alone identified hundreds of girls, boys, women, and men as victims of human trafficking in the US every year.
Identifying Human Trafficking
Often ‘hidden in plain sight’, recognizing the signs of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims. No single indicator is proof this crime is occurring however, when compounded may indicate a potential situation.
is a local non-profit organization journeying with the survivors of Human Trafficking. They help victims at the point of recovery, during restoration and reintegration by addressing their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
When a survivor is recovered, their first connection with Reclaiming Hope comes through their Hope Bags program. These bags are distributed through law enforcement partners when a victim is recovered. Each bag includes new clothing, hygiene items, a blanket, comfort items, snacks and a personal note. Over 5K bags have given survivors a sense of comfort and dignity.
Reclaiming Hope helps survivors past the point of recovery into restoration and reintegration through their Hopeful Women Mentor Program, where women are matched with trained, accountable mentors dedicated to walking along side victims.
To learn more about identifying the signs of Human Trafficking and how you can get involved in putting a stop to this tragic crime within our local community, visit Reclaiming Hope