INDIANAPOLIS — January is recognized as Human Trafficking Awareness month by federal authorities and they are reminding people of the signs and resources available.
Human trafficking is believed to be the third-largest criminal activity in the world, according to the FBI. Because of this, special agents work with several agencies to investigate human trafficking.
In 2018, six cases of human trafficking were investigated in Indiana, according to the FBI.
According to the FBI, someone may be a victim of human trafficking if:
- They are forced to work against their will
- Someone has collected a debt by using threats or forcing someone to work to pay their debt
- Forced to work using threats to harm them and or their family
- Forced or pressured into prostitution and or to do other sexual acts
- Taken away a passport, birth certificate, or ID card to intimidate and control their movements
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security published the following indicator card of human trafficking and smuggling:
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office also released a list of signs of human trafficking someone may recognize, especially those who work in hospitality or take reservations at a front desk:
Programs in Indiana, like the Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program, are working to identify and provide services to victims 24 years old and younger.
The program is a partnership between the Indiana Youth Services Association, Indiana University School of Public Health Bloomington and the Indiana State Police, according to its website.
Several service providers have partnered with the program to help victims throughout the state.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911. To report suspicious activity to the Department of Homeland Security, you can call 1-800-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423). If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text "HELP" or "INFO" to BeFree (233733).