Human Trafficking

 

Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery.  Its victims may be hiding in plain sight in your community, being forced to perform labor or sex work against their will.  To learn more about trafficking and find out how you can help, contact Blackburn Center at 1-888-832-2272. 

 

Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, or abuse of power of a position of vulnerability for the purpose of exploitation.  It is a form of modern slavery, and is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world. 

Trafficking victims can include young children, teenagers, men and women.  They can be American citizens or foreign nationals (either legally or illegally in the United States).  Victims of trafficking can be pressed into servitude through the use of force, fraud and coercion.  They can be found in a variety of industries, including restaurants, hotels, nail salons, small businesses, commercial sex (prostitution, massage parlors, pornography and online exploitation), agriculture and construction. Learn more about modern slavery in our Blackburn 101 series

 

Facts About Human Trafficking

 

  • The United States is one of the top three destination points for trafficked victims. California, New York, Texas and Nevada are the top destination states in the U.S.

  • Women who have been trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation experience a significantly higher rate of HIV and other STDs, tuberculosis, and permanent damage to their reproductive systems.

  • An estimated 27 million people are enslaved around the world this very moment.

  • An estimated 13 million children are enslaved around the world today, accounting for nearly half of  trafficking victims in the world.

  • More than 2/3 of sex trafficked children suffer additional abuse at the hands of their traffickers.

  • There are anywhere between 600,000 and 800,000 victims trafficked through international borders every year, which does not include the millions trafficked domestically within their own countries.

  • Trafficked children are significantly more likely to develop mental health problems, abuse substances, engage in prostitution as adults, and either commit or be victimized by violent crimes later in life.

 

Sources: 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Polaris Project

If you are a victim of human trafficking or if you believe you have encountered a victim of human trafficking and need more information, contact Blackburn Center’s 24 hotline at 724-836-1122 or 1-888-832-2272. 

 

You can also call The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC)’s 24 hour hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733). 

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Westmoreland Human Trafficking Task Force

The Westmoreland Human Trafficking Taskforce was developed by community organizations including Blackburn Center, Children's Bureau, Commissioner's Office, Law Enforcement, hospitals, local universities, religious organizations, and many other community partners and members.

The mission of the Westmoreland County Human Trafficking Task Force is to enhance education, identify victims, and increase awareness to decrease the number of lives impacted by human trafficking.

The Westmoreland Human Trafficking Task Force collaborates with local community partners to bring educational programs and awareness to local services that can provide support. Some of our local

programs include:

  • Red Sand Project: A community artwork installation created by the community through pouring red sand into pavement cracks to represent survivors who fall through our systems of care and promote better supports.

  • Human Trafficking Awareness Month: During the month of January we hold events throughout Westmoreland County

  • Trainings to Professionals and Community Partners

  • Education to School and Youth Groups

 

For questions about the Westmoreland Human Trafficking Task Force or to schedule a training or

educational program contact: Blackburn Center's Outreach Specialist at 724-837-9540. You can also download the Task Force's brochure, or visit its Facebook page.

There is support.

Blackburn Center 24 Hour Hotline: 1-888-832-2272

ChildLine: 1-800-932-0313

National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888

How Can You Help Victims of Human Trafficking?

Learn More: request a training to understand the indicators of human trafficking and how to identify victims in your community.

Raise Awareness: hang signs and information in places like your business, community center, or religious organization.

Take Action: Join the Westmoreland Human Trafficking Task Force, consider becoming a more conscious consumer, hold legislators accountable for addressing human trafficking, and report suspected human trafficking to the National Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.​