Today’s guest post is from Courtney Walsh currently serves as Manager of Corporate and Strategic Partnerships at Polaris, where she works with companies on shared value initiatives to combat human trafficking. She received her Master in Public Policy degree from Harvard Kennedy School and B.A. from Colgate University. She is President of the Harvard Women in Defense, Diplomacy, and Development organization and is on the adjunct MBA faculty at American University’s Kogod School of Business.
Many people do not recognize the critical role they can play in their workplaces and communities to fight human trafficking on a daily basis. From analyzing supply chains in your company’s complex web of services and products, to identifying farm workers or domestic workers who may be employed against their will, we all can stay on alert in both our professional and personal lives. Although January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, every month and every day is an opportunity to move the needle on forced labor and modern slavery in our communities and across the U.S.
At Polaris, a leading anti-human trafficking organization in the U.S., we focus on responding to human trafficking through running the National Human Trafficking Hotline, equipping businesses and civil society with action-focused knowledge and toolkits, and disrupting human trafficking through a networked, campaign-based approach. Through our work, we have identified key indicators of sex and labor trafficking, as well as action items for community members, such as local Junior League chapters:
Human Trafficking Indicators:
- Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
- Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp/manager
- Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
- Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
- Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
- Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
- Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
- Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
- Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
- Is not in control of his/her own identification documents, money, no financial records, or bank account
Ways to get involved:
- Utilize the Hotline’s National Human Trafficking Referral Directory to find local service providers in your
- Sign the petition to Attorneys General encouraging them to support mandatory hotline posting in your
- Support vacating conviction legislation (state and federal) so that survivors are not punished for crimes they were forced to commit by their traffickers. On the federal level, the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act has been introduced in the House. On the state level, the American Bar Association is working on state-level vacatur
- Encourage healthcare awareness by telling your members of Congress to mandate human trafficking training for medical professionals
- Sign other legislative petitions and action items and share them with your networks: https://polarisproject.org/action
- Work with Polaris on your corporate efforts to combat human
People can receive help, report a tip, or request information or training by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or by sending a text to BeFree (233733).