In 2009, the U.S. Senate approved a resolution by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Sam Brownback (R-Ka.) to observe National Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Month from January 1 to February 1. January 11th has become a National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness. President Obama declared January 2012 to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
As defined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the legal definition of “severe forms of trafficking in persons” is:
a) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
b) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Human trafficking is pervasive across the US and around the world. Social workers are frequently a first point of contact for victims and they play an important role assisting them to obtain needed services in the social and health care systems. Social workers bring special expertise in understanding the systemic issues related to trafficking and can become strong advocates for this diverse and underserved population.[i]
What you can do:
- Become familiar with the National Human Trafficking hotline and save it on your phone (1-888-3737-888)
- Raise awareness by linking to this and other articles via Twitter and Facebook.
[i] Salett, Elizabeth P. (2006). Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery. Washington, DC: NASW.