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Club Chronicles: First responders deserve recognition for human trafficking work

July 30 was World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The United Nations’ aim in creating this day of recognition six years ago was to bring awareness about human trafficking and encourage worldwide efforts to defeat this scourge.

Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes, including forced labor and sex work.

An estimated 2.5 million people are trapped in modern-day slavery. Victims fall into the hands of traffickers both in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking.

The 2020 theme for the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons recognizes first responders and their work against human trafficking. The key focus is on the importance of the work done by first responders, as well as the importance of seeking support and raising awareness that these actions need to be sustained and replicated.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the essential role of first responders has become even more important. The pandemic restrictions have made their work more difficult. These first responders work in different sectors – identifying, supporting, counseling and seeking justice for victims of trafficking and challenging the impunity of the traffickers.

The most human trafficking cases in the United States have been reported in California, Texas, New York and Florida. Las Vegas is also a hotspot because of the city’s culture and high rates of homelessness.

But every state in the US has reports of human trafficking. Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights.

Human trafficking is one of the General Federation of Women’s Club Signature Programs. Federated clubs support and donate annually to the Trafficking in Persons Signature Program. GFWC/AFWC Book Lovers Club members in Russellville have attended workshops on human trafficking and contribute annually.

How you can get involved:

  • Highlight the work of first responders in your community or organization.
  • Share, like and comment on the social media messages for the World Day.
  • Donate to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking, which provides on-the-ground assistance and protection to victims of trafficking.
  • Contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which maintains one of the most extensive data sets on the issue of human trafficking in the United States: 1-888-373-7888.