HAGERSTOWN, Md ( WDVM ) — The National Human Trafficking Hotline reports a 25 percent increase in human trafficking cases since 2017. Washington D.C. has the highest human trafficking rate in the United States.
To spread light on the issue, activists Brandon Collins and Lauren Martin organized an event to educate the community.
According to the Office of Victims for Crime, each year an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked, giving traffickers a global profit of roughly $150 billion.
Human trafficking is a crime that forcefully exploits women, men, and children. Activists say some people don’t realize it happens in the United States. According to the United Nations, human trafficking affects every country in the world.
“We do have a market for it here in Maryland, here in Hagerstown, and I would like to raise awareness because a lot of parents think it could never happen to their children, but sometimes it can. That is why I want to shine light on the issue and showcase different ways we can notice what is going on,” said Martin.
The event features a small rally asking people to get informed, organizers also had information packets that explained the dynamic of trafficking.
Activists explained how it can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.
Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text ” HELP” TO 2-3-3-7-3-3 to:
- GET HELP and connect with a service provider in your area
- REPORT A TIP with information on potential human trafficking activity
- LEARN MORE by requesting training, or additional resources
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is a national, toll-free hotline available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. The Hotline is not a law enforcement or immigration authority and is operated by a nongovernmental organization funded by the Federal government.