PORTLAND, Ore.—Today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon commemorates National Human Trafficking Awareness Day—January 11, 2022—and joins its federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement partners in declaring a continued commitment to combating all forms of human trafficking.
“More than 150 years have passed since our nation ratified the 13th Amendment, abolishing the cruel and repugnant practice of enslaving humans. And yet, in its modern form of trafficking, this abhorrent crime persists here in the U.S. and across the globe. Combatting human trafficking is a top priority for the Justice Department and our office. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will do everything in our power to end this horrible crime,” said Scott Erik Asphaug, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.
“We are a country built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every person. Unfortunately, it’s a promise that we see broken all too often for the most vulnerable among us,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “Victims of labor trafficking and sex trafficking are not only exploited in the worst ways, they also live in constant fear. They wake every morning to threats of violence and outright abuse. Help us help them. If you have information about trafficking in your area, please call us.”
Human trafficking, sometimes referred to as trafficking in persons or modern slavery, is a serious federal crime involving the exploitation of individuals for labor, services, or commercial sex through force, fraud, or coercion. This coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psychological. Exploitation of a minor for commercial sex is human trafficking, regardless of whether any form of force, fraud, or coercion was used.
Victims of human trafficking can be anyone regardless of race, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, education level, or citizenship status. Although there is no defining characteristic that all human trafficking victims share, traffickers around the world frequently prey on individuals who are poor, vulnerable, living in unsafe or unstable environments, or are in search of a better life.
In the U.S., trafficking victims can be American or foreign citizens. Some of the most vulnerable populations for trafficking in the U.S. include American Indian and Alaska Native communities, LGBTQ individuals, individuals with disabilities, undocumented migrants, runaway and homeless youth, temporary guest-workers, and low-income individuals.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon is committed to continuing its victim-centered, trauma-informed approach to detecting hidden human trafficking crimes, holding perpetrators accountable, and helping to restore the lives of survivors, while strengthening strategic anti-trafficking partnerships.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.
If you believe you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking or may have information about a trafficking situation, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888 or visit https://humantraffickinghotline.org. You can also text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 233733.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Every year since 2010, the President has dedicated the month to raising awareness about the different forms of human trafficking and educating people about this crime and how to spot it. To learn more, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/12/30/a-proclamation-on-national-human-trafficking-prevention-month-2022/.