WACO, Texas – Unbound Waco is part of the “Not in My City” campaign put together by its parent organization, Unbound, to make public service announcements so people know how to spot and stop human trafficking.
“We are really excited about these PSA’s,” Unbound Global Director Susan Peters said. “They feature three different scenarios that are extremely classic, unfortunately, about how traffickers exploit boys and girls.”
The three videos portray sex trafficking and labor trafficking scenarios – the latter of which may be tough to recognize.
“Often labor trafficking can be in the restaurant business, the agricultural industry,” Peters said. “Because they look like regular laborers or employees, it can be difficult to notice some of these workers are actually being exploited.”
Unbound works with schools for preventing trafficking and trains adults how to recognize it.
Peters says social media can play a big role in luring and grooming teenagers.
“Traffickers are really manipulative,” Peters said. “They can get in a relationship with a young person very quickly through texting and telling them to go on a different social media site and then asking them to sneak out and to meet them.”
The organization encourages students to make their social media accounts private and not to accept messages or connection requests with anyone they don’t know personally. They also advise parents to monitor their children’s phones.
Texas is also a hotbed for all kinds of human and drug trafficking.
“Texas is, unfortunately, very prevalent in human trafficking because of our highway system that goes throughout the country and goes through Mexico,” Peters said. “I-10, I-35 and I-45 forms a ‘Texas Triangle’, and traffickers are using that to export victims.”
The PSAs show that when someone sees a situation that looks suspicious, the best move is to let someone else know about it.
“It’s very important when people don’t feel right. Where you just get that check where you think, ‘That doesn’t look right.’ Then I’d say look deeper,” Peters said. “It doesn’t hurt to call local law enforcement, call the hotline and report it.”
Unbound’s website provides tips on how to spot trafficking situations and ways to help.