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  • Writer's pictureJustin Jensen

Hot Topic!

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

Reflecting on human trafficking issues I cannot help but be drawn into the current news and media coverage of anti-human trafficking efforts. State and local governments are engaging in conversations surrounding trafficking issues and looking for answers on how to make changes. This is a good thing! Awareness is at a high point, and much is needed to stop trafficking and bring valuable aid to the survivors of human trafficking.

I encourage anyone, especially our government officials, policymakers, and community leaders to do their due diligence when looking for solutions. Before jumping on the wave of energy and charging the evil enemy traffickers on our valiant steed “Silver” to save or rescue the “victims” of human trafficking, may I suggest the following:

1. Ask if our goals are “survivor-centered”? A survivor-centered approach, often

referred to as a victim-centered approach, considers the views of trafficked human beings' experiences and perspectives. It can empower survivors of trafficking and it is the key to long-term success with persons who have been trafficked.

2. Are we “survivor-informed”? The point is that it is easy to emotionally invest in “the poor children” who are being sex trafficked outside of the United States or brought to the United States for sex trafficking. I do not minimalize that this happens. However, when we listen to the experiences of survivors in our own backyards and neighborhoods, we become informed of perspectives that we may not have considered before. Including their experiences enhances our efforts to make effective changes in our communities.

3. Do we know which communities within our community are at a higher risk for trafficking? When we learn about who is at a higher risk, we may see that we or our organizations can help differently. We might find that what we thought human trafficking was or looked like is different in our communities than we initially perceived it to be. With a greater understanding of who is at higher risk, we can be part of a collaborative partnership with non-profit organizations, local law enforcement, businesses, and more.

It is my hope that as human beings, we can help other human beings in our collaborative fight against human trafficking.


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