Tomorrow, Tuesday, January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Acknowledged throughout the month of January and specifically on January 11th, “human trafficking is the practice of exploiting adults and children for use as commodities, or objects, in conditions of sexual and labor servitude” according to safehorizon.org. Statistics from Safe Horizon report how in the United States 24.9 million people are victims of forced labor comprising of the following:
16 million people are trafficked for forced labor via private individuals, groups or companies in all sectors except the commercial sex industry
4.8 million people are trafficked for forced sexual exploitation
4.1 million people are trafficked for forced labor in state-imposed forced labor
Women and girls are 71% of all victims
As grim as these numbers are, what can we do as individuals to bring awareness to this experience? How can we help?
Ask your place of work to offer a training on this topic and for them to support organizations that works to end human trafficking.
Consider supporting local Massachusetts organizations that work to end human trafficking which can be found at the Massachusetts Attorney’s General office website.
If you or someone you know is in this situation, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888 or SMS: 233733 (Text "HELP" or "INFO"). The hotline is run 24hrs/day, 7 days/wk and supports more than 200 languages.
Help is available. Consider looking to your therapist as an ally to stop human trafficking. With this information in front of you, let’s do our part to end human trafficking.
Lou Lim, LMHC, REAT is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.