How To Report Suspected Human Trafficking
- Mandy Sandhu
- 28 Nov 2019
The statistics highlighting just how prevalent human trafficking continues to be in contemporary times are staggering. While many of us do not commonly think about the possibility or the existence of human trafficking, it is a very real social problem that is harming over forty million people around the world.
Given the scale of this phenomenon, it can be difficult to know where to begin to combat it and identify how it can be eliminated. For those who work at homeless shelters of inpatient drug rehab facilities in Toronto, it is important to know what resources are available to assist victims of human trafficking and how to involve the authorities to investigate alleged perpetrators of this practice.
To provide you with the tools and guidance you need to assist its victims, let’s look at how to go about reporting suspected cases of human trafficking:
Make Sure To Spot The Warning Signs
You will certainly want to make sure that you know how to properly identify if someone is the victim of human trafficking or not. While in some cases it can be as straightforward as asking a person how they arrived in the city or the country and whether they are being forced to do anything that they do not wish to do, this is not always the case.
Especially among vulnerable and marginalized segments of the population, be sure to look for signs of physical and psychological abuse or trauma in suspected victims of human trafficking. You may notice unexplained bruises or cuts on such individuals and, in many cases, they will be unwilling or fearful of explaining how they received these injuries.
Often, victims of human trafficking will be fearful of or hesitant to speak to the police or other authorities. They may even display a shocking lack of language skills despite claiming to have lived in a given country for an extended period of time.
However, it is important to know that human trafficking is not synonymous with human smuggling (across international borders). Many people are solicited into a life of servitude within the context of their own country and prevented from escaping such a life through coercion, intimidation, and threats. While you might be able to intuit that someone is going through a hard time, it can be difficult to determine what the cause of this distress is rooted in human trafficking.
If you can, it is important that you try to communicate with the person in question to better understand their situation. It is better to be safe than sorry when reporting potential cases of human trafficking. However, if you are able to safely confirm that the person you are concerned about is truly in trouble then this will be of use to the relevant law enforcement authorities.
Be Aware Of Human Trafficking Resources
In Canada and the United States, there are hotlines used specifically for reporting and getting more information on suspected human trafficking. It is imperative that those who work with vulnerable people on a daily basis – including inpatient drug rehab teams in Toronto – are familiar with these resources in order to assist potential victims and direct concerned citizens to the appropriate channels to take. These hotlines are great resources for finding services that will assist victims to find emergency shelters, support, counselling, and more. They are available twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week. Best of all, these hotlines are available in many different languages and even provide support for those who are hard of hearing or deaf.
If you are seeking to report a case of suspected human trafficking, you can do so through these hotlines in a completely confidential and anonymous way. If your suspicions have been raised to think that someone might be being trafficked or exploited, then do not second guess yourself. Play it safe and report your suspicions to the hotline as soon as possible.
Alternative resources to use in lieu of the human trafficking hotlines are immigration authorities in your respective country or – in the case of youth trafficking – child protection services.
Act Fast If There Is An Emergency
While in some cases it can be best to take a cautious approach when handling a potential case of human trafficking, if you suspect that a person’s life is at risk or that a child younger than eighteen is being trafficked, then you should immediately contact your local emergency authorities. Law enforcement needs to be involved if you are aware of physical abuse happening to a person or if a youth is being mistreated or held against their will.
Take Steps To Prevent Human Trafficking
If you are part of an inpatient drug rehab team in Toronto, then it is also important for you to consider assisting efforts to prevent and end human trafficking. This social problem thrives in situations of poverty and where there is a lack of viable life options for vulnerable individuals.
By assisting those with mental illness or drug addiction to find a measure of independence in their lives, you can work to prevent these people from falling into dangerous situations where the perpetrators of human trafficking have an opportunity to force them into slavery. Make sure to take the time to learn about your patients in order to better assess whether they are involved in such a harmful situation.
Do Not Hesitate To Contact The Authorities
If you suspect that someone you have come across is a victim of human trafficking, then you should not hesitate to contact the police or other relevant authorities as soon as possible. When someone’s life has potentially been stolen from them through this barbaric practice, then it is a moral duty to ensure that this person is safe and truly operating of their own free will.
Inpatient drug rehab workers in Toronto deal with many vulnerable and marginalized people and it is important for these and other care-based professionals to know the signs and appropriate steps to take in cases of human trafficking.
Contact us today to find out how Freedom From Addiction can help.
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