Human Trafficking Prevention Month – Ahimsa Intern’s Testimony

January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, in which activists, organizations, agencies, and supporters of survivors commit to educating others on human trafficking awareness and prevention. Supporting survivors of human trafficking is one of the main purposes of ASIA's Ahimsa department. One of our interns worked closely with a survivor and shared their experiences and what they hope others can understand to help prevent human trafficking.

     My internship with ASIA this past Fall semester gave me experiences and observations that I will always consider when encountering individuals who have gone through traumatic experiences. One client I had interacted with as well as went shopping with them for clothes and other necessities had been human trafficked. This survivor had a child, was in college studying psychology and had dreams.

Most people think of survivors as people who are vulnerable but, Jane* was different. She explained what manipulation tactics her trafficker used as well as how he lured her back in. What I feel is most important from this interaction is to eliminate any preconceived notions or biases you may have. Jane was an intelligent and aware of what she was going through; she also emphasized how much she wanted to do now that she was free. Shortly after dropping her off at the location that we had put her in, a few days later her trafficker found out where she was and lured her right back in. I was personally devastated by this because she explained so thoroughly what her next step was; she wanted her kid back and to go back to school. This experience made me realize that people who are being trafficked are not always what we learn in classes or webinars, they can be successful people like Jane as well. Human traffickers can be in a nail salon or hair salon and due to a language barrier, they may not be able to communicate what is going on.

After this internship, I constantly look for signs such as eye contact, how [employees] behave around the owner of the shop. On another hand, if you are working in a hair salon, nail salon, or anywhere, we as individuals must pay attention. On an everyday basis if you want to help, you must be aware of what is going on around you. If you are working in the field, you have to consistently remind survivors their worth and who they were before this as well as what they can become after.

To learn more about human trafficking prevention and support services, visit Ahimsa's page or call us at (330) 535-3263.

*Name changed for client's privacy