Human Trafficking Has Made its Way to Warrenton

Faith Schaefer, Managing Editor

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As a young individual, I am not unaware of the dangers the world holds, but to have to constantly be on edge regardless of where I am, repeatedly looking over my shoulder at grocery stores, gas stations and food chains, it’s tiring and honestly ridiculous. Many people blame this untrustworthiness on the paranoia of being a teenage female, but walking into a restroom at a rest stop or gas station and seeing stickers or signs on bathroom mirrors that tell you to “Be Aware of Your Surroundings” or to “Never Walk Alone” only confirms this frightened behavior. The existence of human trafficking is present no matter where you are, and unfortunately, it is in our home town. 

     In late 2018, the Human Trafficking Institute released a report that stated Virginia ranked sixth in the nation for active human trafficking cases. There have been many instances in and around our county where human trafficking has turned an individuals life into a living nightmere. 

     For example, March of last year the county sheriff made a statement acknowledging the couple of occasions in Fauquier that have taken place.

     “I am aware of two incidents of commercial sex trafficking in Fauquier County,” said Sheriff Robert Mosier.

     It is real, and it is a problem that not only females are victims of, any individual can be caught up in the nightmare of human trafficking. Human trafficking targets anyone regardless if they are a man, woman, child or adult. 

     Throughout 2017, there were 33 active human trafficking cases in Virginia alone. Three of those cases were in the Western district, while the remaining were in the eastern, where Fauquier resides. 

     According to the U.S. Department of State, anyone could be a victim of trafficking and display no warning signs, but there are some things that you could look for.

     Some of the signs of human trafficking include marks of physical abuse or injuries, decreased social interaction, tattoos/branding on an open body part, disappearing for long periods of time, lack of control, and fear of authority figures. These are only a few ways to identify the possibility of someone being sex trafficked, just be aware of the obvious tells. 

     Unfortunately, sex trafficking isn’t the only kind of human trafficking there is. Two other types, forced labor and debt bondage, have also been detrimental in today’s society. According to the U.S. Department of State, forced labor (involuntary servitude) is the biggest division of trafficking in the world.
    The awareness of these other forms of trafficking is restricted due to the limited knowledge of their existence. Even though there has been no accounts of any other types of trafficking besides sex trafficking in Fauquier, people should still be alert conscious to the signs.

 

National Human Trafficking Hotline:

1 (888) 373-7888

SMS: 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”)

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

Languages: English, Spanish and 200 more languages

Website: humantraffickinghotline.org