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by June 25, 2010
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. Prevalent even in the United States, it's one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world, and homeless youth are especially vulnerable.
Human trafficking subjects victims to violence, fraud and coercion for sexual exploitation or other forced labor. There are hundreds of thousands of victims in the U.S., including scores of foreign nationals and internally trafficked minors involved in prostitution.
Criminal operators often target homeless children, and America's streets are teaming with dangerous predators -- brutal pimps, gangs and pornographers.
These human traffickers buy and sell children, stripping them of their freedom. Pledge to help end human trafficking in the United States by learning to identify victims and report incidents.
Learn the signs. A victim often:
* Exhibits injuries, withdrawn behavior, depression and/or fear.
* Is malnourished and/or inappropriately dressed.
* Shows signs of drug addiction.
* Demonstrates a sudden change in attire, behavior, or material possessions (for example, expensive items).
* Makes references to sexual situations that are beyond age-specific norms.
* Has a "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" who is noticeably older (10+ years).
* Demonstrates an inability to attend school on a regular basis.
* Chronically runs away from home or makes references to frequent travel to other cities.
* Lacks control over their schedule and/or identification documents.
How to respond:
* In the case of an immediate emergency in the U.S., call 911. In other countries, call your local emergency access number.
* If you know kids in danger of homelessness in the U.S., encourage them to call Covenant House's Nineline at 1-800-999-9999.
* You can report suspected trafficking crimes in the U.S. by calling the Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.
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