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D.C.: September Human Trafficking Awareness Month

D.C.: September Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Did you know that there is an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals trafficked into the United States each year?  Shockingly the number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country is even higher, with an estimated 200,000 American children at risk for trafficking into the sex industry.  The average age of entry for children victimized by the sex trade industry in the U.S. is 12 years.  The U.S. State Department estimates 80% of human trafficking victims are women and girls and up to 50% are minors.

No city, state or country is immune to the plague of modern slavery, not even our nation’s capital.  September is Washington D.C.’s Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the event that was established thanks to the efforts of the D.C. Task Force on Human Trafficking. The Task Force was established in 2004 with the D.C. police department and the U.S. Attorney’s office, membership is now open to open to any D.C. metropolitan area law enforcement agency or non-governmental organization involved in anti-trafficking activities.

The Four Main Task Force Goals:
– To facilitate a more coordinated anti-trafficking effort in the D.C. area through protocol development, extensive community outreach, proactive investigations, law enforcement training, intelligence sharing, and more formalized partnerships between law enforcement organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
– To identify citizen, resident and transnational victims of both sex and labor trafficking.
– To provide comprehensive services to trafficking victims.
– To increase the prosecution of traffickers.

This month, as the city’s activists and abolitionists unite to bring the face of modern slavery and human trafficking to the forefront, the National Human Trafficking Hotline has taken top priority. The hotline was established by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a service funded by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide information and resources to victims of human trafficking, other individuals or organizations seeking information about this phenomenon, and accept tips from individuals wishing to provide information about possible victims. The hotline is administered and run by DC-based Polaris Project. If you are a victim of trafficking, know a victim of trafficking, or suspect a case of trafficking please contact the Resource Center, call 1-888-373-7888, or email [email protected]. The toll-free hotline operates year round, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

DC Trafficking Facts:D.C.: September Human Trafficking Awareness Month

  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) considers Washington, DC one of the top 14 sites in the country for sex trafficking of American children. (FBI, 2005)
  • The Department of Justice (DOJ) Task Force members maintain that hundreds of sex and labor trafficking cases in the Washington, DC area remain undiscovered each year.

Anyone can become a victim; there isn’t one face to human trafficking and modern slavery. How do you know if you have come across a victim? Trafficking can take place in any environment and any location.

Some Red Flags to look for include:

  • Restricted freedom of movement
  • Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
  • Signs of physical abuse
  • Fear or depression
  • Not speaking on own behalf
  • No passport or other forms of identification.

What can you do?

Next month, on October 22nd, on the National Mall the 3rd annual DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk will take place, this is the perfect opportunity to take action and lend your voice to the fight.  Help create awareness, learn more from the speakers and organizations at the resource fair, and make history as we are poised to make this year even bigger… the event is already the biggest anti-trafficking event in D.C.  So don’t delay and sign-up to walk, fundraiser and spread the word today.




Cassandra Clifford

Cassandra Clifford is the Founder and Executive Director of Bridge to Freedom Foundation, which works to enhance and improve the services and opportunities available to survivors of modern slavery. She holds an M.A., International Relations from Dublin City University in Ireland, as well as a B.A., Marketing and A.S., Fashion Merchandise/Marketing from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Cassandra has previously worked in both the corporate and charity sector for various industries and causes, including; Child Trafficking, Learning Disabilities, Publishing, Marketing, Public Relations and Fashion. Currently Cassandra is conducting independent research on the use of rape as a weapon of war, as well as America’s Pimp Culture and its Impact on Modern Slavery. In addition to her many purists Cassandra is also working to develop a series of children’s books.

Cassandra currently resides in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where she also writes for the Examiner, as the DC Human Rights Examiner, and serves as an active leadership member of DC Stop Modern Slavery.

Areas of Focus:
Children's Rights; Human Rights; Conflict