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January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

January is human trafficking awareness month with the goal to educate communities of an ever growing problem.

Rana Zakaria is the Community Educator of the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking. Zakaria said areas such as the Upper Cumberland are especially vulnerable.

“They are geographically isolated,” Zakaria said. “There are usually less stops out there, which makes people more vulnerable. We have a lot of truck stops out there. Folks that might want to get help, victims might feel stigmatized. There is just not as many resources out there for folks that are at risk or in a sticky situation.”

Zakaria said poverty stricken or marginalized communities are the most targeted. Zakaria said traffickers usually offer false opportunities for these people to better their lives, which leads to exploitation.

“Usually people that are in that situation are more likely to take that risk in order to provide for themselves or to provide for their families,” Zakaria said. “I also wanted to touch base on addiction. Not only are we going through a pandemic, rural areas going through the opioid epidemic and addiction.”

Traffickers use addiction to their advantage and supply substances to control a person. Foster care children and homeless communities are also highly vulnerable.

Zakaria said while most people do not come across victims of trafficking, you can still help by donating, advocating and bringing awareness.

“Everyone knows someone that is vulnerable,” Zakaria said. “I always talk about working up stream. What are some ways we can work up stream with vulnerable populations to where they are no vulnerable anymore. If you live in a community and see there is a large homeless population or a lot of foster or family group homes, help out in any way.”

The Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking conducts free online training to better understand human trafficking. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 180 cases of human trafficking were reported in Tennessee for 2019.


The post January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.