It is 2023. Human Trafficking Is Still A Problem.

I wrote my first post here in February 2007. It is 2023, and human trafficking will continue to be a major problem. Despite governments and organizations worldwide efforts to combat the issue, the illegal trade of humans for forced labor and sexual exploitation remains prevalent. Far too prevalent.

Why Is Human Trafficking Still A Major Issue?

One of the reasons for the persistence of human trafficking is the lucrative nature of the crime. Traffickers can make large profits by exploiting vulnerable individuals and often operate in complex networks that are difficult to disrupt. Additionally, many people targeted by traffickers are in precarious situations, such as refugees or undocumented migrants, which makes them more susceptible to being trafficked.

The lack of effective laws and law enforcement is another reason for the continued problem of human trafficking. While many countries have laws against human trafficking, they are often not enforced effectively, and traffickers can operate with impunity. In addition, many countries lack the resources and capacity to investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases.

Economic downturns have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly didn’t help ease the issue. The economic downturn caused by the pandemic made many groups more vulnerable to being trafficked. Additionally, lockdowns and travel restrictions made it more difficult for law enforcement to detect and investigate human trafficking cases.

We Must Work Together – NAR Jumps Into The Fray

To combat human trafficking, governments and organizations must work together to increase law enforcement and prosecution of traffickers, provide support and assistance to survivors, and address the root causes that make people vulnerable to being trafficked. In that vein, the start of a powerful awareness campaign for human trafficking was initiated during the National Association of REALTORS® Leadership Summit, when incoming Presidents from Realtor associations across the US heard an “Onwatch” presentation on Human Trafficking by 2023 NAR president, Kenny Parcel.

Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped in 2002 at fourteen and held captive as a sex slave for nine months. She told her story to the NAR Leadership Summit as part of the Onwatch presentation on human trafficking. Photo by NAR.

“This was not a pleasant topic or one that people are even aware of,” remarked Ines Hegedus Garcia, Miami REALTORS 2023 Chairman of the board, “but it’s one that we have the power to shine a light on. NAR is the largest trade association in the US, with over 1.5 million members and eyes everywhere! If Realtors are trained to recognize critical signs, we can affect change and save lives. Miami Realtors, the largest local Realtor association in the US, is prioritizing this initiative and hosted its first webinar to its members on January 24th.”

During this workshop, Erin Collins, Executive Director, Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking, discussed signs and indicators of human trafficking, ways community leaders can prevent this horrible exploitation in our community, and what to do if you suspect someone is being harmed.

Key Takeaways From the presentation were:

  • Learn the potential signs and indicators of human trafficking and where to report suspected exploitation.
  • Importance of social media and online safety.
  • How to get engaged in your community and help raise awareness

The international community needs to continue to raise awareness about human trafficking and its impact on individuals, families, and communities. And it’s important to note that human trafficking is not just a problem in developing countries. It’s also a major issue in developed countries like the United States. It’s a global issue that needs a global response, and I’m thrilled the National Association of REALTORS® has chosen to shine a light on an issue that still plagues humanity.

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