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5 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Sex Trafficking in Your Daily Life

The global issue of sex trafficking will take a global community of Fighters to join together and stop the demand for exploitation.

By January 17, 2024No Comments
Cover photo by Skyler from Iowa. Instagram: @skylervillemel

Fighting against sex trafficking can seem like fighting against the tide. No matter how determinedly you try, there’s no stopping something so powerful, and every time you feel like you’ve achieved a small victory, a problem appears somewhere else.

It’s the ultimate game of whack-a-mole, but the moles have been replaced by human lives, and the game is actually a global crisis.

Global sex trafficking is a huge problem—it’s estimated that 4.8 million people around the world are coerced into the sex trafficking trade every year as part of a $99 billion industry,International Labour Organization. (2017). Global estimates of modern slavery: Forced labour and forced marriage. Geneva: Retrieved from  and the advent of digital marketplaces has made the identification of traffickers that much more difficult.

Related: How Porn Can Fuel Sex Trafficking

With numerous organizations battling sex trafficking worldwide, it’s common to ask, “How can I help?”

We’re glad you asked.

It’s becoming more and more possible for every person, no matter their occupation or background, to play an active role in the fight against sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Tech advancements and traditional grassroots efforts hold equal significance. We’ve curated five ways for everyone to actively join the global fight against sex trafficking.

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1. Refuse to contribute to sexual exploitation with views or money

The porn industry is tied inescapably to sex trafficking. No, not every video and image on every porn site is trafficking-related, but exploitative images and videos are often indistinguishable from regularly consensual content.

Porn is a risk factor that has been connected to heavy involvement in sex trafficking; it normalizes the actions trafficking victims are forced into, it desensitizes victims of sex trafficking to those actions, and it’s used as “advertising” by both pimps and traffickers. Clicking, downloading, or consuming videos and images sends the message that sexual entertainment is acceptable at the cost of sexual exploitation and funds advertising dollars that, in turn, can fuel trafficking and exploitation.

But what about “mainstream” porn studios and porn sites—aren’t they completely separate from the sex trafficking issue? Great question. We’re glad you asked.

Related: Let’s Talk About “Ethical Porn”

If you’re not convinced content on mainstream sites isn’t all consensual, read this viral New York Times storythis BBC reportthis storyanother story from the New York Timesthis story on Daily Beastthis story on Complex.comthis Rolling Stone storythis storythis story on CNNthis storythis Buzzfeed News profile, or this UK Independent story for further evidence that the mainstream porn industry features nonconsensual content and videos of trafficked individuals. Unfortunately, there are many, many more stories like these. And again, this is happening on virtually every mainstream porn site. And yes, this includes videos on Pornhub and XVideos, and other mainstream porn sites, as well as sites like OnlyFans.

Not only that but the bigger the porn industry, the more challenging it will be for performers to step out and speak out without backlash when they’ve been exploited and abused in the name of sexual entertainment. As of now, there is no formal system of support or reporting for those who have been forced, tricked, and coerced into shooting even one porn scene, and blacklisting outspoken performers is currently an informal industry standard.

Not clicking isn’t always easy since porn is everywhere and so many people struggle, but it’s an action that we can all take, and it’s an action that matters.

2. Take pictures of your hotel room

How does snapping a quick shot of your suite help? Sex trafficking occurs regularly in hotel rooms, where victims are photographed and advertised online to potential buyers.

These photos include room details like wallpaper, carpets, and furniture, aiding in room identification.

Related: “TraffickCam”: This App Helps You Fight Sex Trafficking While You Travel

Connecting the photos to the exact locations was near-impossible until a group of planners and programmers developed an app called TraffickCam. Upload a photo of your room to the TraffickCam database. An algorithm can then match it with the decor in photos of suspected traffickers. That makes it easier for law enforcement to identify the location where the trafficking was taken place and track down the perpetrators.

You can download TraffickCam for iOS and Android. Quickly snapping photos in hotels can significantly aid law enforcement in fighting trafficking. Just a few seconds make a meaningful impact.

3. Learn to recognize red flags

Sex trafficking isn’t always far away. It happens around the world, but that also means it can take place in our own cities, towns, and neighborhoods, so learning to spot the warning signs can help you identify victims and report them to law enforcement—just look at this story about a flight attendant helping a victim of trafficking, or this taxi driver who saved a pregnant woman from being exploited, or an Uber driver who recognized the signs and reported trafficking to police. Because they listened to and observed what was happening around them, lives were saved.

Click here to learn more about how to report trafficking if you think you see something suspicious.

There are lots of red flags that can signal that a person is being trafficked. They might appear fearful, anxious, disoriented, indebted, show signs of abuse, and more.

Websites like the Polaris Project, Hope For Justice, Stop The Traffik, and the US Department of Health and Human Services all have extensive lists of red flags, and being familiar with them can help all of us identify and help trafficking victims even if we don’t anticipate encountering them.

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4. Report trafficking-related activity

Read up on the facts of how to spot a trafficking victim or trafficker at the sites linked above.

If you spot a potential trafficker or victim, alert authorities promptly for swift action. You can call local law enforcement or notify the National Human Trafficking Hotline 24 hours a day by calling 1-888-373-7888.

The hotline has handled over 150,000 tips since 2007 and is the best way to activate a response that can rescue a victim or identify a trafficker.

Related: How the Porn Industry Profits From Nonconsensual Content and Abuse

5. Help educate others

Bringing others into the worldwide fight is an important part of fighting for the safety and security of victims of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. It can be as simple as a short conversation or the sharing of a website.

You can also print out these materials from the US Department of Health and Human Services and share them with friends or family members to help them learn about the problem. The materials are available in multiple languages and cover topics like sex trafficking, child exploitation, and social services.

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Why this matters

The problem of sex trafficking will not go away on its own. This global issue will take a global community of Fighters to join together and fight against sexual exploitation by being part of the solution, not contributing to the demand.

It will take a global community that is willing to say “no” to consuming porn and say “yes” to reporting any trafficking-related activity. And it won’t always be easy to fight, but it will always be worth it. Are you with us?

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