Human trafficking is one of the scariest, most despicable crimes in modern existence.

The United Nations considers human trafficking a global human rights epidemic. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines it as modern-day slavery involving the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. It also provides a fact sheet and resource guide, which you can download by using this link, that can help you gain a comprehensive understanding of this horrible crime.

It is truly an abomination.

The biggest mistake committed by everyday Americans is thinking that it only happens in war zones or faraway places. In reality, human trafficking, and the abduction of children and adults to be trafficked, can occur almost anywhere.

Here are three very real human trafficking dangers to keep in mind:

1. Human trafficking can exist anywhere.

The above statement bears repeating and acknowledging! It is the key to protecting yourself and your loved ones. Human trafficking occurs in cities, rural towns and well-to-do suburbs. This is not fear mongering, it’s a fact.

Like the illegal drug trade, human trafficking generates billions of dollars in ill-gotten profits every year, and with so much to gain, albeit reprehensibly, it’s taking root in communities across the country. It’s dangerous to ignore the issue just because it seems outside of your day-to-day life.

2. Traffickers prey on vulnerable people.

Traffickers use force and manipulation to lure victims into their grasp. They look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, displacement from natural disasters, and other vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, children are often targets.

Other risk factors include: isolation, homelessness, running away from home, learning disabilities, mental illness, and childhood sexual abuse.

Regardless of your circumstances, make sure to always pay attention to your surroundings. If you feel uneasy, don’t ignore it. That applies not just in so-called bad neighborhoods, but to things like online ads for job listings, or the like, that require meeting at locations that don’t make sense.

3. Don’t assume it’s obvious.

Human trafficking is largely a hidden crime. You may not even realize when a victim or predator crosses your path, and that can be quite dangerous. Human trafficking exists outside the normal flow of everyday life and victims may be so fearful and traumatized that they won’t reveal themselves or run for help. In some cases, they may even help lure others to their abusers.

Do you have questions about human trafficking? Our attorney Dean LeBoeuf is a frequent speaker on this topic and can share valuable information with you on this topic. We are your local community law firm here to help you. Do not wait to contact us at any time, day or night.