This Super Bowl is taking place this weekend and many tourists will be flocking to Houston to see what the city has to offer. Despite the financial gain the event brings in, many victim advocates are calling it the largest human trafficking event of the year. These statistics show how Houston compares to other US states.
You may have noticed an increased display of anti-human trafficking messages on billboards, buses, taxis, etc. throughout Houston.
These advertisements serve as an important reminder that human trafficking is prevalent in our city and that we should take the time to learn about the signs of human trafficking.
Common Work Related Living Conditions
- Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
- Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
- Is under 18, in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp
- Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
- High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. boarded up windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior
- Avoids eye contact
- Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
- Is depressed, submissive, tense, nervous or paranoid
- Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
- Racial discrimination is is rarely discussed in open forums about human trafficking . Does race and ethnicity contribute to the likelihood of people becoming victims of trafficking? Yes. I believe that not only does race and ethnicity constitute a risk factor for trafficking, it may also determine the treatment those victims’ experience.
Poor Physical Health
- Loss of sense of time
- Lacks health care
- Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
- Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
- Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
- Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
- Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
- Has few or no personal possessions
- Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
- Appears malnourished
If you believe you have identified a potential trafficking situation, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) on 1-888-373-7888, send a text to Polaris at BeFree (233733) or submit an anonymous tip on the NHTRC website. If you have reason to believe a person is in immediate danger you should contact authorities immediately.
Written By: Savannah Martens, UH