One of the greatest hindrances to truly impacting the human trafficking issue is Misidentification. Victims in our country are being overlooked, mislabeled, and therefore, unreached, due to this issue. Worse yet, more often then not, they don't even know what they are caught in.
Allow me to give an example of what I mean. Not once since beginning to speak on this issue in 2012, have I ever left a venue without someone having said,
"You mean like the movie, Taken?"
In our country, this is what people immediately think, when the words Human Trafficking are uttered. This is an enormous problem. Why? Because, while a few victims do experience kidnapping, or extreme bondage, liked being caged, or chained to a bed, the vast majority thankfully, do not!
Now, that is not to say they don't experience horrendous abuses daily. They do. But, if we are linking trafficking to kidnapping in our minds we will miss our victims almost entirely.
You see, traffickers are opportunistic, master manipulators, and powerfully skilled in coercion, not just force. Using coercion and manipulation is not only easier and a quite effective form of brainwashing, it misleads not only victims but society. It is a silent, subtle power, that effectively chains the victims invisibly, while keeping the trafficker safe from recognition.
I can not count the times I have been told by a trafficking survivor they didn't know they were being trafficked while it was occurring. They had no idea. They knew they didn't like the situation, and wanted it to stop, but they didn't have a name for it. Worse, most of them over time came to believe it was their fault or their choice.
If you are unsure if you are being victimized, stop and ask yourself these questions: "What would happen if I said no? Do I have that option? Would I still be safe if I said no?"
If your answer is anything but a resounding yes, you are being manipulated, coerced, and/or controlled. Please seek assistance. You were not created to be enslaved to anyone else's will.
Human trafficking, at it's core, is the same. Each individual's story is different, but the 'core' is the same. No different than if you and I both had a car accident. We were both involved in a collision, but the details of those collisions are likely very different.
Until we become thoroughly aware of ALL of the methods used to trap and victimize our people, they will continue to go unnoticed. Our children will continue to grow up in a world unknowingly potential victims, because they weren't taught the truth.
I leave you with this graphic.