January is human trafficking awarness month. This may not be a comfortable topic for most people to read about, but you are already here, so I think you should just keep reading…
Human trafficking is an issue affecting every state, every county, and every city. In 2018, Illinois had 296 reported cases of human trafficking (“Hotline Statistics”). That means that there are most likely additional cases that go unreported.
Human trafficking is not just the billion dollar sex trade industry that is typically thought of when “human trafficking” is said. There can be more to it. “Human trafficking occurs when a perpetrator, often referred to as a trafficker, takes an Action (induce, recruits, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains), and then employs the Means of force, fraud or coercion for the Purpose of compelling the victim to provide commercial sex acts or labor or services” (“What is Human Trafficking”). The only exception to this is when a minor is involved, in which case, there doesn’t have to be a means of force. So this means that a person coerced into working in a restaurant or a field can be included in this definition, not just someone forced into sex slavery.
At Jumpstart, we serve a massive area that is filled with highways, truck stops, restaurants, and fields. There is a Human Trafficking Task Force in 2 of the counties that we serve, so we know that this is happening in our back yard. Human trafficking stings have occurred just minutes from our office door. This impacts the community we are located in, the people we serve, and the children in Jumpstart who are trying to grow and develop.
We have had the privilege of providing services to a few survivors of human trafficking. Jumpstart home visitors have been able to walk with them as they learn more about their child’s development, gain self-confidence in their parenting, and gain trust in their home visitor. We are thankful to these families who have shared this part of their lives with us, so that we are able to better support them.
Parenting is not easy. It wouldn’t be easy even in a perfect world and we know we live in an imperfect one. Jumpstart meets families in the messiness of life and we never judge or think it is “too much” because we are messy, too. Whether you are interested in learning more about home visiting or you are thinking about enrolling to get your own home visitor, feel free to reach out to us.
If you are interested in learning more about Human Trafficking, please go the website listed below and research more.
Until next time,
“Hotline Statistics.” National Human Trafficking Hotline, https://humantraffickinghotline.org/states.
“What is Human Trafficking.” National Human Trafficking Hotline, https://humantraffickinghotline.org/states.