January is human trafficking awareness month, and January 11th is the national awareness day. An estimated forty million people are affected by human trafficking worldwide.
There are organizations working to fight the trafficking, including non-profits like The Exodus Road. They work with law enforcement officials in multiple countries to help free people and arrest their abusers. The non-profit's Chief Executive Officer says everybody has a hand in helping fight the global issue.
"Here in the United States the estimates are about 400,000 individuals affected by human trafficking and that can look like sex trafficking, or it can look like labor trafficking,” said Laura Parker, CEO of The Exodus Road.
Anybody can become a victim of trafficking, but some people are at a higher risk than others.
"People in societies that are on the margins, those people are vulnerable, when they don't have support systems, when they don't perhaps have strong families, when they don't have strong opportunities for jobs and those are the people that are often at the greatest risk for exploitation and eventually human trafficking," Parker said.
The Exodus Road has worked to free more than 1,500 survivors of human trafficking and helped police arrest more than 800 traffickers over the past ten years.
There are free online resources to learn more about human trafficking at www.theexodusroad.com