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1. Education is the best prevention strategy
Bibiana Ferraiuoli, the executive director of the Ricky Martin Foundation, which works to combat human trafficking through education, says peer education in particular is very important. This means teenagers teaching each other in school and migrants looking out for each other.
“As soon as [kids] talk about human slavery and their basic human rights, the peer-to-peer empowerment they can have is amazingly infinite. In Puerto Rico, there is a national awareness month where our organization brings modern-day abolitionists into schools to teach about their rights,” Bibiana said in an interview.
2. A more cohesive effort among law and order is still needed
Everyone we talked to said an alliance between national, state, and local authorities is important because it helps build a common understanding of a complex crime and facilitates a coordinated response that avoids revictimization. Unfortunately, that alliance is still not completely ideal.
Ferraiuoli says that federal agents who work with trafficking survivors often have a hard time getting specific evidence for cases because of the power dynamic between victims and agents. “It’s almost like working with someone who’s dead because they’re afraid of what to say. Their family’s life could be at risk.” And many trafficking victims come from a place where authorities can’t be trusted to keep their secrets and may even deliver them to further abuse, she describes.
3. There are trafficking clues you can discern
Human trafficking today is much more nuanced than we think. It’s not just women and girls locked up in foreign countries, like we’ve come to learn from surface-level media outlets or even movies. In fact, this crime is often right in front of our noses and in everyday situations.
As as result, it’s important to be aware of what to look for when you suspect trafficking is occurring. In the same way that key details can be gleaned when sniffing out a potentially abusive relationship, they can also be found in trafficking.