Human trafficking is a crime that happens everywhere. Traffickers are criminals who operate in every country, including the United States and Colorado. Despite its prevalence, it is misunderstood, many people don’t know that it is happening or they don’t really know what it is.
Human trafficking is a crime that involves the serious exploitation of another person for the purpose of forced labor or a commercial sexual act, using violence, fraud or coercion, often for economic gain. Human trafficking consists in denying the human right to freedom and basic dignity.
This is the legal definition, but there are many questions – and misunderstandings – about what this definition really means and what it means in Colorado.
The Colorado Human Trafficking Council (the council) has developed a campaign to raise awareness about human trafficking in Colorado and educate the public on the essential facts. The campaign aims to combat misperceptions and provide opportunities for our communities and potential victims to learn more, report suspicious situations, or connect with services through the campaign website, human trafficking hotline, or line of text from Colorado . The caller can choose to remain anonymous to protect the safety of citizens and victims. Ultimately, the goal is to build confidence that we can stop human trafficking in Colorado. The better we understand what it is, the better we can face the problem.
“The research shows that people have a narrow perception of human trafficking based on what they saw on TV shows, news and social media,” said Maria Trujillo, program manager and spokeswoman for the council. “These representations are usually sensational and do not represent the real world and the various forms of human trafficking.”
Instead of sensational depictions that perpetuate stereotypes, the campaign sheds light on the darkness. The campaign uses a range of narratives to show different forms of human trafficking using real-life facts to authentically highlight the various forms of human trafficking.
Some examples of human trafficking in Colorado targeted by the campaign include:
- Sex trafficking a young woman by someone she loves and trusts
- Human trafficking of a man and his family by another family member
- Human trafficking of a young LGBTQ + person by an employer
- Human trafficking in a woman and her daughters who moved here from abroad
Each of these narratives is representative of the types of human trafficking found in our state, in all communities, and in sectors such as traveling sales teams, agriculture, and hospitality. They show how traffickers anyone can be. A trafficker does not fit any stereotype, and neither does his victims. Traffickers often hunt down people they believe are vulnerable and find them easier to manipulate and exploit for personal gain.
The focal point of the campaign is the ThisIsHumanTrafficking.com website. The website provides information on the crime of human trafficking, its different forms, how it can happen, what to look out for, and how the public can safely get involved and help eradicate this often hidden crime. Learn more about human trafficking in Colorado and the campaign at ThisIsHumanTrafficking.com.