Sept. 22, 2010 -- If you are a victim of trafficking or want to help those who are, here are some resources:
Shared Hope International: This organization is a leader in the worldwide effort to eradicate sex trafficking and slavery using a three pronged strategy - prevent, rescue & restore, and bring justice. To support Shared Hope's efforts in restoring women and children, click here.
Polaris Project: This national organization works at the international, national and local levels to combat trafficking. It trains leaders on how to combat trafficking and even writes policy aimed at curbing what it calls the second largest crime in the world.
National Human Trafficking Resource Hotline: This hotline allows you to report a tip if you think that trafficking has occurred in your neighborhood. If you are a victim of trafficking, the hotline will connect you to help in your area. You can also call and receive information about trafficking and where to go to train in counter-trafficking.
Department of Homeland Security: This government agency has a link to a state and local database of anti-trafficking groups. There is also information regarding immigration status if you are undocumented and a victim of trafficking. Concerned citizens can click on this link to request assistance for child victims of trafficking.
The U.S. Department of Education: This federal agency has a sheet for schools and educators with signs that a student might have been lured or forced into sex trafficking. Among the things to look for: long, unexplained absences from school, or a student is constantly running away or wearing inappropriate attire based on the weather conditions.
The Child Rescue Association of North America: This non-profit organization works to stop child sex trafficking in the United States and Canada. You can join a local chapter or donate to the organization. They also have a link to several resources nationwide.
The GEMS Council of Daughters: This is a national branch of the New York based GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, an organization helping girls working in the sex industry. The GEMS Council of Daughters hosts fundraisers and training sessions in counter-trafficking.
The National Runaway Switchboard: This hotline allows runaways to call for help. Experts say that running away can be a gateway to children being forced into sex work.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: This national organization famous for issuing Amber Alerts for missing children also focuses on the sexual exploitation of children. It has a cyber tip line that allows you to report possible instances of child exploitation.
The Body Shop's Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People Petition: This campaign launched by the Body Shop asks customers in stores or online to sign a petition protecting victims of sex trafficking from being arrested and prosecuted for prostitution.