January was National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. If you knew more, would you do more?
According to the representative, human trafficking is the number one crime in Orange County. It doesn’t receive the kind of focus that other crimes do in the media. Between 2019 and 2020, 357 victims of human trafficking were able to received assistance from various organizations in Orange County. There are countless others that need to be reached.
A human trafficking awareness event was held at California State University, Fullerton, on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, from 10 am to 2 pm by the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF). Over 300 middle school students from Anaheim, Fullerton, and Santa Ana School Districts and community partners gathered. Speakers talked about the importance of feeling safe and protected within our community. Educational materials and resources were made available in several languages. Food trucks, photo opportunities, and police cars will be present.
OCHTTF also presented a community and youth awareness event called, “Know More, Do Better,” to inform school-aged youth about the dangers of human trafficking and child exploitation and to provide assistance for those who are survivors of it. One of the speakers for the day was Oree Freeman, a survivor advocate and motivational speaker, who told her story to the audience of students, families, and community members.
Higher Ground and Live2Free (Vanguard University) gave two presentations made by college students. Two groups, each representing a different district, alternated participating in the indoor and outdoor program activities. They had the students go around the 26 booths (governmental and nongovernmental) with an educational passport activity to critically learn how to spot the signs of trafficking.
While not an exhaustive list, these are some key red flags that could alert you to a potential trafficking situation that should be reported:
- Living with employer
- Poor living conditions
- Multiple people in cramped space
- Inability to speak to individual alone
- Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed
- Employer is holding identity documents
- Signs of physical abuse
- Submissive or fearful
- Under 18 and in prostitution
If you suspect human trafficking call 1-888-373-7888 National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Other speakers and event highlights include:
- California State University, Fullerton President Framroze Virjee
- County of Orange Social Services Agency Children & Family Services Director Christine Snapper. Judge Craig E. Arthur, Presiding Judge, Juvenile Court.
- Anaheim Police Department Deputy Chief Rick Armendariz
More than 30 organizations participated, including Children’s Health of OC, the OC Dept of Ed, Vanguard University, Higher Ground, Raise Foundation, Waymakers, OC Transportation Authority, OC District Attorney’s Office, Irvine & Santa Ana Police Dept, and more.