18 and Under: Do You Know What Human Trafficking Is?

By Lia Madden, Kate Fowler, and Lilly Land

How educated are teenagers on human trafficking? Well, being teenagers ourselves, we put this question to the test amongst our peers. We conducted this survey: https://forms.gle/wHzxFHKbZkt2XWQk7 and sent it out to both males and females from our high school. The results are as follows.

We asked participants to rate themselves on a scale of 1-10 about how knowledgeable they are on the topic of human trafficking: 1 indicating they know nothing about human trafficking and 10 indicating they are experts on the subject. Our average rating was 5.13. Our lowest score was a 1, while our highest score was a 7. One person even blatantly stated they knew “nothing” concerning the topic of human trafficking. We then followed up with a few questions concerning human trafficking, and asked respondents to answer either yes, they knew the fact, or no, they did not know the fact. Our first question was, “Did you know that it is estimated that there are between 20 million to 40 million people in modern slavery today (internationally)?” 100% of participants selected that no, they did not know this fact. Our next question was, “Did you know that violence, manipulation, and false promises of high-paying jobs or relationships might be used to lure victims into trafficking situations?” Only 53.3% of participants voted that yes, they knew this fact. Our final question was, “Did you know that a large number of child sex trafficking survivors in the US were at one time in the foster care system?” 33.3% of respondents said that yes, they knew this fact. It is clear from our survey results that teenagers do not know enough about human trafficking. Few people know what it is, and many do not know how to help themselves and others stay safe. We wonder if this is because people choose not to educate themselves or if they simply do not understand the magnitude of the issue as trafficking is not a common topic in the education system. Moreover, some people may not put much thought into human trafficking; it is typically not something people see every day, depending on where one lives.

The prime targets for human trafficking are minors and young women. As most of our participants were 18 or younger, this is especially frightening since they would potentially be targets for human trafficking. Fortunately, Our Future of Change is a great source to utilize for those interested in educating themselves on this global crisis, ways to stay safe, and how to help survivors of human trafficking.

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