To recognize and respond to human trafficking, we need to debunk the stereotypes and myths that surround victims and survivors of human trafficking.
Myth 1: I don’t know any human trafficking victims. They don’t live around me.
Fact: Odds are, you have met someone that was, currently is, or will be trafficked in the future. Human trafficking victims do not fit stereotypes. The only way for you to know if someone is being trafficked is by having a conversation with them. Get to know them, on a personal level. Human trafficking often hides behind our assumptions.
Myth 2: I see human trafficking victims portrayed in photos wearing chains or being tied up. Is that really how traffickers control their victims?
Fact: Traffickers use force, fraud, and coercion to manipulate trafficking victims and survivors. These means of exploitation include lying about job opportunities, debt slavery, threats of hunger or violence, or using immigration documents to threaten deportation. The “chains” of slavery are often psychological.
Myth 3: It’s easy to spot traffickers. We see how they act all the time on Law & Order!
Fact: Human traffickers do not fit stereotypes. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, more survivors of human trafficking are calling the tip line for help, which allows them to learn more about their exploiters. Traffickers are often friends with the victim, intimate partners, family members, or a potential employer promising a job opportunity. Learn more about the perpetrators of human trafficking.
Myth 4: It’s too unsafe for me to fight against human trafficking. What if I get targeted?
Fact: Traffickers prey on vulnerability to manipulate victims using force, fraud, and coercion. Many of us are blessed with communities and networks of support that make our vulnerability to exploitation much lower than others. Simply having a conversation with your homeless neighbor does not put you at risk for human trafficking. In fact, your homeless neighbor is much more at risk for trafficking every day, and could be exploited right now.
Myth 5: I can’t do anything to stop human trafficking.
At Let My People Go, we know fighting human trafficking is dangerous and not to be taken lightly. Using a gospel-motivated, congregational, and collaborative approach to ending human trafficking protects both the vulnerable people you’ll be coming into contact with, and yourself. Our goal is to protect, include, and empower those that could be, are, and may be trafficked.
Have questions about what a gospel-motivated, congregational, and collaborative justice ministry would look like at your church? Contact us! We would love to partner with you.