Mission Kids and the Fight Against Human Trafficking
“Human trafficking is the business of stealing freedom for profit. In some cases, traffickers trick, defraud or physically force victims into providing commercial sex. In others, victims are lied to, assaulted, threatened or manipulated into working under inhumane, illegal or otherwise unacceptable conditions. It is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 24.9 million people around the world,” according to Polaris Project.
Warning Signs that someone may be the victim of Human Trafficking:
- Visible Signs of physical abuse such as bruises, cuts, or burn marks
- Emotional Signs such as appearing to be depressed, withdrawn, anxious, or distracted
- Unexplained absence from school and/or activities; truancy
- Overly tired or falls asleep in class or during activities
- Inappropriate dress
- Sexualized behavior
- Brags about making or having lots of money
- Displays or flaunts expensive clothing, shoes, accessories, or electronics
- New tattoo (tattoos are often used by traffickers to ‘brand’ their victims)
- Older boyfriend, new friends with a different lifestyle, or gang involvement
- Disjointed family connections, running away, living with friends, or homelessness
If you suspect human trafficking, please contact your local police immediately.
How can I report suspected Human Trafficking?
If you live in Montgomery County and suspect that a child is being abused or has been victimized:
- Call your local police department
- Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1 (888) 373-7888
- Call Montgomery County Detectives Bureau: 610-278-3000
- BeFree TextLine: Text “Be Free” to 233733
- Call 911 if you suspect someone is in immediate danger
Does Human Trafficking happen here? How common is it?
What is Mission Kids doing to help stop Human Trafficking?
Mission Kids has been named the sole recipient of the STOP Human Trafficking Grant by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The $300,000 grant was awarded to only one agency in the Commonwealth and will be funded for two years starting in January 2019.
Over the next two years, Mission Kids will work with 20 partner agencies to create a formal, cross systems Sex Trafficking Response Team who can provide specialized insight into sex trafficking. This multi-disciplinary team will work collaboratively to identify issues in providing safety and services to victims of sex trafficking, while concurrently seeking to improve the trauma response to victims. A training outline will be developed to address the needs of all Sex Trafficking Response Team members and their unique roles and responsibilities. These structured training programs will ensure that professionals across disciplines will be well-equipped to identify, and respond to, cases of sex trafficking in the community.
As traffickers move their victims across county and state lines, the team is also responsible for creating a Sex Trafficking Response Protocol to standardize a cross-systems response to trafficking which can be replicated in all counties across Pennsylvania. Many trafficking victims have a history of child sexual abuse, have been in foster care, and become victims before the age of 18. This victim-centered protocol will provide a clear, systematic response for all team members to successfully respond to cases of sex trafficking of minors and adults.
A unique member to the team is a survivor of human trafficking. Other members include representatives from:
- Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigations
- Montgomery County Detectives Bureau
- Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office
- Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth
- Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project (MCAP)
- Salvation Army
- Laurel House
- Victim Services Center
- Norristown Police Department
- Pottstown Police Department
- Upper Merion Police Department
- Creative Health Services
- Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Medical Center
- Accion Comunal Latinoamericana de Montgomery County (ACLAMO)
- the Montgomery County Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition
- the Mazzoni Center.
What else can you do to make a difference? Take Action Today:
- Learn more about Human Trafficking.
- Learn more about Child Abuse – Schedule your FREE Training!
- Share an infographic from the National Human Trafficking Hotline
- What Parents can do to Prevent Trafficking
- Learn the Warning Signs – Help Identify Possible Sex Trafficking
- Take the Quiz – Learn what your ‘Footprint’ is!
- National Human Trafficking Hotline – English
- National Human Trafficking Hotline – Spanish