The latest stats are shocking. More than 12 million people are victims of human trafficking. But that number is thought to be just a portion of it. The reality is most offenses go unreported and unnoticed. Children, people from broken homes or foster care, and those that are financially unstable, are the highest targeted demographics, but they’re not the only ones in danger.

Here’s how you can recognize it, stop it, and help others.

Human trafficking has been reported in all 50 states, and it’s getting worse! The Polaris Project reported there was at least a 40 percent increase since the shelter-in-place orders began for COVID-19. That means the perpetrators are usually not strangers. This could be new partners, parents of your kid’s friends, or colleges.

The three pillars that define trafficking are force, fraud, and coercion.

Red flag number one: force. If anyone does anything to make you uncomfortable, ever. You have a right to protect yourself.

Red flag number two: fraud. Always be cautious of everyone. Even if they are your partner. Be aware of signs like, having a job no one can visit, frequently leaving town, or multiple phones.

Red flag number three: coercion. If someone is pushing your boundaries ever, remember trafficking is gradual and happens little by little.

Always have a safety plan in place. Advocates are always ready and want to help you. To call for help, dial 1-888-373-7888.

It’s important to emphasize that human trafficking and modern slavery is a hidden crisis. You cannot spot it in plain sight. There is no one look to a trafficker. Be on the watch for unsettling patterns like pushing boundaries, secrecy, and control.

If you see something, don’t be afraid to say something, you can also text the national hotline with a tip to 233733. Tips can always be anonymous. You can find out more about this issue at www.humantraffickinghotline.org.

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