Common Work and Living Conditions:
Prevention is a systematic process that promotes healthy environments and behaviors and reduces the likelihood or frequency of an injury or traumatization. Primary prevention efforts are those that aim to stop the harm from happening in the first place. Prevention requires comprehensive efforts for reducing and ending sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking.
Primary prevention efforts increase investment in and focus on strategies to end sexual exploitation and the demand for it. In contrast to victim services, criminal justice expansion and response after harm is done, effective prevention efforts focus on actions to significantly:
Reduce the likelihood that males will buy or sell women or children.
Reduce the likelihood that women and children will be vulnerable to such commodification and exploitation.
And reduce the ways that businesses are profiting from trafficking and exploitation.
Human sex trafficking is driven by the demand for commercial sex.
This demand is comprised of both
a) men who buy women and girls for sex, and
b) a culture that tolerates or promotes sexual exploitation.
The demand for commercial sex is strongly related to male privilege and sexual entitlement and is part of a continuum of sexual exploitation and discrimination against women and girls. Strip clubs, violent pornography, exploitative massage parlors, and other venues and/or forms of sexual exploitation drive the demand for commercial sex and contribute the normalization of degradation and violence against women and girls. As a society, we have allowed and perpetuated pervasive messaging and images that portray women and girls as sexual objects and dehumanized commodities purposed for male consumption. Our children are bombarded with this toxic message every day through media, music, movies, video games and pop culture that reinforce this message and normalize the hypersexualization of America’s youth.
In order to effectively address sex trafficking in Minnesota, we must consider tougher penalties for the traffickers and the perpetrators, or buyers of commercial sex, who are driving the demand. We must also study the effect that commercial sex has on communities and the local economy to determine which businesses are profiting from it, including the marketing vehicles used by traffickers. Communities, by way of tolerating this activity, actually contribute to continued exploitation. When working on these issues, it is important to remember that these social norms/perceptions and beliefs about women and sex are something we create, and are, therefore, something that we can change.
Addressing The Demand
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Recognizing the Signs
Are you or someone you know being trafficked?
Is human trafficking happening in your community?
Is the situation you may have encountered human trafficking?
The following is a list of potential red flags and indicators of human trafficking to help you recognize the signs.
The presence of these red flags is an indication that further assessment may be necessary to identify a potential human trafficking situation. This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. Also, the red flags in this list may not be present in all trafficking cases and are not cumulative. Indicators reference conditions a potential victim might exhibit.
Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior:
Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
Avoids eye contact
Poor Physical Health:
Lacks medical care and/or is denied medical services by employer
Appears malnourished or shows signs of repeated exposure to harmful chemicals
Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
Lack of Control:
Has few or no personal possessions
Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in
Loss of sense of time
Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story