GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOOD) – Wedgwood’s Manasseh Project has been a leader in trafficking and exploitation treatment, awareness, and education since 2012. Since January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Wedgwood Christian Services joined Maranda to debunk the myths and educate West Michigan on human trafficking.
Myth 1: Trafficking is always initiated by force. (This is known as Guerilla Pimping). Fact: Human traffickers often use manipulative relationships and psychological means such as tricking, defrauding, or threatening victims into commercial sex or labor trafficking. This is known as Romeo Pimping.
Myth 2: Human trafficking involves moving, traveling or transporting a person across state or national borders. Fact: Human trafficking does not require any movement at all. Victims can be recruited and trafficked in their own communities, even their own homes.
Myth 3: It’s the “man in the white van.” Fact: While it is important to be aware of your surroundings, there is no specific look or gender of a trafficker. They can be man or woman, young or old, attractive or unattractive, any race, any profession. Traffickers can be someone who has a relationship with their victims – a family member, friend to the family, significant other, or mentor.
Myth 4: Michigan is ranked #1 or #2 in the nation for Human Trafficking. Fact: Human Trafficking is a complex issue. Though there is data that show its existence, it is extremely difficult to accurately quantify. One reason is that victims of exploitation do not always self-identify or even know that they are being trafficked. They can often equate their victimization with being in a relationship with their trafficker.
To learn more about human trafficking, please visit www.manassehproject.org.