ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — 40.3 million – that’s how many victims of human trafficking there are globally according to The International Labor Organization with hundreds of thousands of those being in the United States. Our Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige spoke with a Human Resources group looking to make a way for survivors and explains why trafficking may not look like what we think.
“So I think there’s a big misconception about trafficking, where people think it’s something where someone from another country is brought here and trafficked, that actually happens of course that happens but it’s more domestic than anything,” said Leilani Quiray, founder and CEO of Be The Change HR, a social impact business that works with those who have been rescued from sex trafficking by providing job readiness classes and one-on-one coaching.
Quiray says a lot of trafficking begins with manipulation, “Someone who you know, works with someone that they might trust and it becomes sort of a manipulation of that person into a situation where they feel like they need to or they have to provide this thing or do this thing for this person and so it’s not necessarily cut and dry.”
And some of these cases are targeted towards women who left their country for a new beginning in America. Just last month an alleged sex-trafficker was arrested after posting a fake online ad claiming to seek employment for a waitress position at a Manhattan restaurant. She interviewed a women who responded to the ad and told her she got the job, but when the woman showed up for her first day of work, she was forced to have sex with men and the trafficker threatened to call immigration and have her deported.
Quiray says there are certainly industries more likely to come across people being trafficked like restaurants, hospitality and manufacturing. While not all employers offer training to spot trafficking, “There’s a non-profit called Operation Underground Railroad and they have a free certificate course so that you are knowledgeable about how to spot if someone is possibly being trafficked and also how to respond, right?” You can also call the National Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.