Ep. 16: Nolita

I don’t really know where to begin with this book to be honest with you in these notes. I feel like I’m being pulled into two directions, should I start with how to help victims and what human trafficking actually is or talk about the book itself.

Ok I’ve decided to start on the book itself. Which is, simply put, terrible. If we were to take away how incorrect this book is about real issues and how problematic it is, the writing is terrible on its own. As are the characters. I feel like this book was written worse the The Nymph King which I didn’t think was actually possible but there it just is.

With that is how flat as a pancake these characters are. How can a love story be believable if the two characters have no personalities? Other than buff man and damsel-in-distress woman? And those aren’t even real personality traits. We know literally one thing about Regan in this novel and that is that she likes horror movies. That’s really it.

But now on to the more important part of this book which is how incorrect it’s representation of the social justice issue of human trafficking is portrayed. I go into detail in Ep 16: Nolita, as does Dr. Talbott in the supplementary episode to Episode 16, but this is rarely, if ever, how human trafficking goes down. Sure, as Dr. Talbott says there are exceptions to every rule, but it is such a small percentage of a larger issue.

First before anything else, the National Human Trafficking Hotline number is 1-888-373-7888.

Now onto more important points such as more information on real human trafficking, how to combat it, and organizations that are combating it:

  1. Real human trafficking

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline: “Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. This crime occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will. Force, fraud, or coercion need not be present if the individual engaging in commercial sex is under 18 years of age.”

Also according to the National Human Trafficking hotline, there were over 5,000 reported cases of human trafficking in 2018 alone.  The highest state was California with over 760 cases reported. Ohio was fourth was 219 cases reported.

I also recommend reading the Myths and Facts page which you can find here.

You can also find the Signs of Human Trafficking here

2.   How to Combat It:

Here are 15 ways to combat human trafficking according to the U.S. Department of State:

  1. Learn the indicators of human trafficking so you can help identify a potential trafficking victim. Human trafficking awareness training is available for individuals, businesses, first responders, law enforcement, educators, and federal employees, among others.
  2. If you are in the United States and believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, report your suspicions to law enforcement by calling 911 or the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline line at 1-888-373-7888.
    Trafficking victims, including undocumented individuals, are eligible for services and immigration assistance.
  3. Be a conscientious and informed consumer. Discover your slavery footprint, ask who picked your tomatoes or made your clothes, or check out the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. Encourage companies to take steps to investigate and prevent human trafficking in their supply chains and publish the information, including supplier or factory lists, for consumer awareness.
  4. Volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts in your community.
  5. Meet with and/or write to your local, state, and federal government representatives to let them know you care about combating human trafficking, and ask what they are doing to address it.
  6. Host an awareness-raising event to watch and discuss films about human trafficking. For example, learn how modern slavery exists today; watch an investigative documentary about sex trafficking; or discover how human trafficking can affect global food supply chains. Also, check out CNN’s Freedom Project for more stories on the different forms of human trafficking around the world.
  7. Organize a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization.
  8. Encourage your local schools to partner with students and include modern slavery in their curricula. As a parent, educator, or school administrator, be aware of how traffickers target school-aged children.
  9. Be well-informed. Set up a web alert to receive current human trafficking news. Become familiar with public awareness materials available from the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Homeland Security.
  10. Work with a local religious community or congregation to help stop trafficking by supporting a victim service provider or spreading awareness of human trafficking.
  11. Businesses: Provide jobs, internships, skills training, and other opportunities to trafficking survivors.
  12. Students: Take action on your campus. Join or establish a university club to raise awareness about human trafficking and initiate action throughout your local community. Consider doing one of your research papers on a topic concerning human trafficking. Request that human trafficking be included in university curricula.
  13. Health Care Providers: Learn how to identify the indicators of human trafficking and assist victims. With assistance from anti-trafficking organizations, extend low-cost or free services to human trafficking victims.
  14. Journalists: The media plays an enormous role in shaping perceptions and guiding the public conversation about human trafficking. Here are some media best practices on how to effectively and responsibly report stories on human trafficking.
  15. Attorneys: Offer human trafficking victims legal services, including support for those seeking benefits or special immigration status. Resources are available for attorneys representing victims of human trafficking.

According to Dr. Talbott, here are some red flags to look out for.

  1. Someone who is not in control of themselves. Meaning someone else is controlling their movement, money, holding their identification, their phone, etc. So that person is not able to do things on their own.
  2. People have signs of injury or illness, especially untreated injury or illness. Marks or tattoos on the nape of the neck, usually visible.
  3. Signs or symptoms of psychological trauma. Someone who is always downcast, never looks anybody in the eye.
  4. Fear of law enforcement.
  5. Don’t know where or when it is, don’t know what’s been happening in society.
  6. Have a perfectly rehearsed story of what has happened to them (this is particular to children especially).
  7. Trust your gut.

3. Organizations that are working to end human trafficking

  • The Polaris Project: “Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris systemically disrupts the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of what we do – helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate.”
  • The National Human Trafficking Hotline: “The National Human Trafficking Hotline connects victims and survivors of sex and labor trafficking with services and supports to get help and stay safe. The National Hotline also receives tips about potential situations of sex and labor trafficking and facilitates reporting that information to the appropriate authorities in certain cases.The toll-free phone and SMS text lines and live online chat function are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Help is available in English or Spanish, or in more than 200 additional languages through an on-call interpreter.”
  • Thorn: “Thorn was born in 2012. Our co-founders Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore had learned about the issue of child sex trafficking from a documentary highlighting what was happening to children in Cambodia. They describe it as this moment where you learn something about the world that you can’t un-know. As they started learning more, they realized that it is just as prolific of a problem here in the United States as it is overseas.”
  • Abolition Ohio: “We work in partnership with concerned community members and partner organizations in the Miami Valley and across the state and the country to prevent human trafficking, protect victims and survivors, and help prosecute the criminals responsible through awareness-raising, advocacy, education, and research.”

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