Raising Awareness and Promoting Prevention - Recognizing Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Raising Awareness and Promoting Prevention - Recognizing Human Trafficking Awareness Month

On January 24, state employees from across the state were encouraged to wear blue in recognition of human trafficking awareness month. Human trafficking involves the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, buying or selling of human beings for labor and services by means of force, fraud or coercion.

Currently, North Carolina ranks among the top ten in the nation for reported human trafficking cases. The North Carolina Department of Administration’s Council for Women and Youth Involvement encouraged state employees to wear blue to pay tribute to the many survivors as well as victims of human trafficking across our state and to continue raising awareness for this critical issue.

“Human Trafficking is a world-wide crime, affecting millions of men, women, and children each year,” said Mary Williams-Stover, Director of the NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement. “To end human trafficking, we must continue to educate and serve as a resource within our state and community.”

January 24 will serve as a day of recognition and is an extension of the national Blue Campaign, established by the US Department of Homeland Security. Each year, in acknowledgement of Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the Campaign urges everyone to wear blue to promote and educate others on human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a borderless crime, depriving victims of human dignity and freedom, regardless of race, religion, gender, age, citizenship or socioeconomic status. To combat this issue, legislation has been enacted in recent years mandating that trafficking prevention and awareness be included in the sexual health education curriculum and training on trafficking to all public-school personnel.

To heighten awareness, Governor Roy Cooper signed a proclamation declaring January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. On January 24, the NC Executive Mansion, State Capitol, Administration Building and Capehart Crocker House in downtown Raleigh were adorned in blue lighting in acknowledgement of Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

The NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement also handed out blue ribbons and educational materials on human trafficking prevention in the Administration Building’s 1st floor lobby and ground floor.

“There is so much we can do to help stop human trafficking from occurring in our state,” said Kiricka Yarbough Smith, Human Trafficking Program Director for the NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement. “One way is learning key indicators to help identify a potential victim. You can also make a difference by volunteering and supporting anti-trafficking efforts in your community.”

If you believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, report your suspicions to law enforcement or call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text “BEFREE” to 233733. To learn more about the NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement’s Human Trafficking Prevention Program, please visit ncadmin.nc.gov/human-trafficking for more information.

Author: 
Aldesha Gore