Tri-Cities Police Departments Raising Human Trafficking Awareness
January is National Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month. Every year thousands of victims fall prey to traffickers in all countries of the world. Men, women, children, every nationality.
Human trafficking is exploiting others in prostitution and forced labor or slavery.
The Kennewick Police Department has partnered with the Support, Advocacy, and Resource Center (SARC) to educate people about human trafficking. SARC has been in operation in the Tri-Cities area since 1977. It's a crisis prevention center providing a support program.
In 1981, the United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties funded the Benton-Franklin Rape Relief and Sexual Assault Program. The name was changed to the Sexual Assault Response Center or SARC. Then, in 2012, the name changed again, this time, to the Support, Advocacy & Resource Center.
The organization serves victims of sexual violence, homicide, child physical abuse, elder abuse, assault, gang violence, fraud, identity theft, and human trafficking.
Human traffickers are looking for vulnerable targets by preying on their victims by offering help or pretending to be a friend or romantic interest. They use many popular social media platforms to search for victims.
According to Humantrafficking.org:
People may be vulnerable to trafficking if they:
- Have an unstable living situation
- Have previously experienced other forms of violence such as sexual abuse or domestic violence
- Have run away or are involved in the juvenile justice or child welfare system
- Are undocumented immigrants
- Are facing poverty or economic need
- Have a caregiver or family member who has a substance use issue
- Are addicted to drugs or alcohol
If you or someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking you can call 1-888-373-7888 or text "HELP' or "INFO" to 233733 for assistance.