BY MARY STROKA
Human trafficking is an extensive and worldwide problem. Ohioan Theresa Flores, a survivor of human trafficking, said, "There's not a ZIP code in the country where it's not taking place." She will tell her story Saturday, July 20, at St. Bede the Venerable in Mentor, Ohio. "Most people think human trafficking is an issue involving immigrants, not the teen next door. But the proliferation of date-rape drugs, the Internet and the ability to easily take photos and videos with a cellphone have brought it to the suburbs," writes Janet Podolak in the article.
The issue, however, is not without solutions. Flores suggests seven characteristics or situations people should look for in crowded areas, concerts, sporting events, etc.:
1. Bar code tattoos to indicate a commodity status.
2. Teens with falling grades.
3. Young teens hanging out with an older group.
4. An older boyfriend buying expensive gifts for a girl.
5. A controlling older male with a girl of a different ethnicity.
6. A girl who is never left alone by an adult/boyfriend.
7. Frequent occurrence of sexually transmitted disease; poor dental hygiene.
A Huffington Post article described how companies such as Google Giving and banks are using technology to combat traffickers.
Check out Polaris Project's National Human Trafficking Resource Center for more info -- call 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733) to report a tip, request training, information and resources, or to connect with anti-trafficking services in your area.