The United Family Fights Against Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise on the planet with a staggering 25 million children and young adult victims at any given time across the world. In Texas alone, there are 80,000 underage victims who have fallen through the cracks into the dark underworld of human trafficking. For the third straight year, The United Family is helping to fight the war against human trafficking by joining the Texas Blue Sand Project, an awareness initiative launched by the Texas Attorney General wherein participating organizations spread blue sand in the cracks of sidewalks to symbolize the victims of human trafficking that fall through the cracks. “Some people may see human trafficking as a problem that only happens in other parts of the world, but in reality, it also happens right here in our backyard,” said Angelos Lambis, Director of Fuel and Convenience for The United Family. “Participating in the Texas Blue Sand Project and putting up these stickers are examples of something we can do to help. We are proud to once again join with these organizations to do our part in raising awareness.”
Raising community awareness to identify and report suspected cases of human trafficking will save lives. “Hands down, the most important tool we have in the fight against human trafficking is the cooperation of Texans and their willingness to stand up for the health and safety of their communities,” Kevin J. Lilly, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Chairperson, said in our story. “It’s absolutely critical that all Texans make themselves aware of the warning signs of human trafficking, and that we all commit to do our part to help end this terrible crime.” The United Family is also running a in a sticker campaign by placing the number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-3737-888) in its store bathrooms and fuel stations. Likewise, those needing assistance can text “HELP” to 233733 (BeFree).
Since human trafficking is often a crime that is hidden in plain sight, it is important to be aware of its warning signs. Some indications that a person may be a victim of human trafficking include (especially in the case of women and children):
Living with employer
Poor living conditions
Multiple people in cramped space
Inability to speak to individual alone
Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed
Employer is holding identity documents
Signs of physical abuse
Submissive or fearful
Unpaid or paid very little
Under 18 and in prostitution
If you believe you have identified someone still in the trafficking situation, alert law enforcement immediately by calling 911 or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.