Issue 51 • Week of January 8, 2023

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please dial 911. Call 1-888-373-7888, text 233733, or visit the hotline website to chat or report a tip with specific details about victims of human trafficking.

Every new year resurfaces a chance to resolve longstanding concerns – especially persistent issues we thought were already addressed that still require our attention.

Ask Americans about slavery and most will say it is a relic of the past with the possible exception of blood diamonds or chocolate, but it is a reality for a staggering 50 million people around the world.

Sadly, despite our society's best attempts thus far, "the land of the free" is one of the key enablers of the fastest-growing criminal enterprise now estimated at $150 billion. Raising awareness about the plight of victims will help us prioritize their safety. Until then, wearing blue on January 11 was likely a coincidence for most citizens rather than intentionally promoting National Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

The US imports by far the most goods produced as a result of forced and child labor. America is the world's largest consumer of sex that contributes to a global black market of human trafficking. We routinely fail thousands of people – many of them minors – who are forced into marriages under threat of violence.

In total, over 400,000 people are put to work or worse against their will on US soil. The affected population would be among our 50 largest cities ahead of Tampa, New Orleans, or Cleveland.

Where do these crimes still happen and how can we help those affected?

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