Every day, human trafficking is occurring in communities around the world. Whether it is through sex trafficking, labor trafficking, organ trafficking, and forcing children to be “child soldiers,” this crime impacts approximately 27 million men, women, and children. This crime destroys families and causes trauma for the victims.

Recently, the U.S. Department of State released its “Trafficking in Persons Report” highlighting the number of human trafficking cases occurring worldwide, victims’ stories, and a section on victim identification. There is no doubt that we should work tirelessly to bring awareness to this issue, as it impacts the dignity of human life and families.

The Washingtonian recently published an article about a human trafficking ring that was taking place in the backyard of the nation’s capital. Underage girls were being targeted by the Underground Gangster Crips gang for prostitution. The D.C. area and other large metropolitan areas face this type of crime frequently with gangs recruiting underage girls as prostitutes. These girls come from all types of familial backgrounds and from all socioeconomic classes as well. Most of these victims are recruited using social media tools, like Facebook and Twitter, and websites such as Craig’s List.

Human trafficking is becoming a fast growing crime, but there is still some stigma in terms of recognizing who is the victim or perpetrator. It is important for communities to understand the signs and how to prevent this crime from occurring.

FRC published a brochure, “Modern Slavery: How to Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community,” and this brochure provides tips on how to recognize the signs of human trafficking. There is also another valuable resource, our webcast, “Sex Trafficking in America: From the Boulevard to Planned Parenthood,” featuring speakers from organizations that specifically work with human trafficking: Shared Hope International, Courtney’s House, and the Salvation Army.

Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” This has never been more true, in terms of bringing awareness to human trafficking and working towards ending this horrible crime.