Working with homeless communities in the US to fight human trafficking

Hope for Justice has proactively worked with around 100 homeless people in the Southern United States, to help reduce their risk of being trafficked and ensure that more victims are identified.

Our teams have so far carried out two sessions in a homeless shelter to raise awareness about human trafficking in an informal and empowering way.

The aims are many-fold; to ensure that this community is aware of its vulnerability to being targeted by traffickers, as well as ensure people know how to recognize the signs in their peers and know how to respond. We also need to spread the word within communities at high risk of trafficking about Hope for Justice and how we can help people rediscover their freedom.

Richard Schoeberl, US Investigations Team Leader at Hope for Justice, said: “We are working with the homeless community as part of our ongoing prevention efforts in our fight against human trafficking.

“Homeless people are vulnerable to being targeted by traffickers who could lure them into exploitation with false promises of food, a roof over their heads, and a job.

“During our visits, we are on the look-out for any possible signs of human trafficking within the community, as well as making people aware of the risks and signs of human trafficking.

“People were very receptive and engaged; amongst other comments, people said they understood that young homeless women would be particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation. People also told us that they had not received this kind of information before.

“We hope this ongoing prevention effort will reduce the chances of homeless people being trafficked, as well as increase the numbers of trafficking victims that are identified and rediscover freedom.”

Our US teams now plan to continue this vital work in other homeless shelters.