Hybrid Parenting recently had the opportunity to interview Betty Ann Boeving, who is the Founder of the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition (BAATC). We spoke about what parents need to know so that they can be vigilant in their communities. We also discussed how to protect children from human trafficking in their own communities.
This year the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition (BAATC) is rallying thousands of people and over 50 non-profits in the Bay Area to stand up against human trafficking at the Freedom Summit 2015 on May 9th at the Levi’s Stadium. The goal is to prevent a major influx of trafficking in 2016, when the Bay Area will host the Super Bowl, which is commonly known as the “single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.”
5 Myths about Human Trafficking
Human Trafficking or Modern-Day Slavery is trading an individual against their will and profiting from them for the purposes of sex slavery, forced labor, and domestic servitude.
1. Modern-day slavery or human trafficking does not exist in the Bay Area. Hybrid parenting learned that human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world and 40% of all West Coast trafficking victims pass through the Bay Area. Unfortunately, it is happening in our own backyard.
2. Human traffickers share a similar demographic profile to drug dealers. There is no single “face” for human trafficking. It transcends race, ethnicity, culture, gender, and class. In bigger homes such as Atherton, Los Altos or Saratoga it may be domestic servitude while in the East Bay it can be agricultural labor trafficking while in San Francisco it may be prostitution and child exploitation.
3. The majority of victims of human trafficking are foreign girls from low-income backgrounds. Girls and boys from varying socio-economic backgrounds are affected by human trafficking. It is also a domestic issue. In recent years, an alarming trend in victims is the shift from foreigners to Americans.
4. The only way to help stop human trafficking is to join a organization. Individuals can create a slave-free Bay Area by being the “eyes and ears” in their communities. Similar to a neighborhood watch, parents play a critical role in helping stop trafficking by noticing any suspicious activity in their communities (see below, What Parents Need to Know).
5. Parents should not discuss human trafficking issues with their children. Human trafficking should be discussed especially so children are not left vulnerable in their communities. There are developmentally appropriate ways to help children learn about some of these topics (see below, Talk to Children).
What Parents Need To Know
This is the issue of our time. As Human Trafficking is rapidly increasing, it is crucial for parents i to take a stance against Human Trafficking and said NO. NOT IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. We need to create safe communities and send a message to human traffickers that this will not be tolerated in our communities.
Remember that there are different faces to human trafficking in the Bay Area.
For suspicious activity, please call the National Hotline: 1.888.3737.888.
Suspicious activity in your your own community can range from:
- A live-in nanny or domestic worker that does not have their passport, looks disheveled, and/or has physical bruising. The first case of human trafficking was in Walnut Creek with a nanny that was being kept against her will.
- A massage parlor that has individuals coming in and out at after closing hours or at odd times.
- A garage or auto mechanic store that seems like it is housing multiple individuals.
- A nail salon that has workers who do not seem to getting paid and shows signs that they may be living in the salon
- Airports are the most common way minors are transported. Unfortunately, current policies do not require minors to travel with identification domestically. Make sure you notice any unusual behavior at airports such as minors who are being controlled (e.g., may not be allowed to use the restroom on a flight), or minors who may be wearing clothes that do not match the destination they are traveling to. You can let any flight attendant know about suspicious activity that you may encounter.
- Other signs to look for in victims: restricted schedule, restricted communication, isolated from family/friends, secrecy or vagueness about whereabouts, malnourished, untreated health or dental problems, unexplained absences, unidentifiable source of income, paranoia, disconnected to outside world, lack of trust, gaps in story or defensiveness about questions.*