School is out and summer is here! It’s time for backyard barbecues, lounging by the pool, and enjoying the late sunsets. For many, summer is synonymous with vacations. Whether you’re the type to take long road trips to camp at national parks or the type to fly to big cities abroad, there are some things that you should never forget to pack. Always remember to travel with the resources you need to identify human trafficking and to report it.
Traffickers move victims by cars, planes, trains, and buses, and summer is the most common time for traffickers to travel with victims. We’ve complied resources and information below that won’t take up any crucial room in your suitcase.
If you haven’t already, start with our Human Trafficking 101 series to learn how to identify human trafficking. Print or take screenshots of these indicator cards (here and here) as a reminder of what to look for when you’re traveling, and program the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (888-373-7888) into your contacts.
Look for suspicious activity on the roadways, at rest stops, truck stops, train stations, bus stations, airports, and report it quickly (and anonymously if you choose).
Choose hotels and airlines that have signed The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (see the full list here). These companies have committed to ongoing policies and programs that prevent and protect children from trafficking.
Then, be proactive. Ask – #DoesYourHotelKnow? Make it known to your favorite companies that this issue is important. Explore organizations like Airline Ambassadors and Truckers Against Trafficking to see how. For literal bonus points, donate unused or extra frequent flyer miles to organizations that use them to support a human trafficking survivor’s return home. Delta, United, and other airlines make it easy.
If you’re traveling out of the country, you may encounter peddling and begging rings. In these cases of trafficking, a trafficker forces a person (usually a child) to beg for money on street corners and at stop lights. The victim may be given an impossible daily quota to meet, which may result in brutal physical punishment. Although our first and deepest instinct is often to give money or food to beggars who appear to be in real need, our gifts can actually be fueling the problem. Instead, focus your giving on organizations that are addressing the root causes and vulnerabilities that put people at risk, such as poverty, hunger, and ending demand.
Do you have questions about the difference between human trafficking on the road and human smuggling? Click here to read more. Do you have questions about human trafficking and travel? Let us know in the comments below!