The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.
Call them at: 1-888-3737-888
Program this number into your cell phone right now so that you can report any suspicious activity when you see it.
About Sex Trafficking in Maryland
The vast majority of women currently involved in prostitution started before adulthood. These women have been abused and brainwashed. They need a place to start to see themselves differently- a caring place that provides physical, emotional, and psychological healing.
Sex trafficking victims, especially minors, lack suitable housing and treatment in Maryland. Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, confirms that “at least 100,000 children each year are recruited and victimized through child sex trafficking,” and according to the research completed by Shared Hope International (SHI), an organization that combats sex trafficking globally, this is just the tip of the iceberg. According to SHI, children who are US citizens or legal permanent residents are now thought to be the largest group of trafficking victims in the United States.
Nationally there are only five shelters specifically for minor domestic victims of sex trafficking, with a total of less than 100 beds. None of these are in Maryland. Maryland law classifies minors engaged in prostitution as victims of sex trafficking, rendering them ineligible for any juvenile detention services. Trafficking does not end, however, simply because a victim reaches age 18. Physical, mental, and sexual abuse inflicted by pimps, as well as drug addiction, carry on into the victim’s adult life. Pimps invest a great deal of time and money creating victims who are wholly dependent on their traffickers. Because the average woman engaged in prostitution in Baltimore entered into the commercial sex industry at an early age, often as a runaway and victim of abuse, housing and treatment for these women is an absolute necessity if we are to break the cycle of sex trafficking in Baltimore.
Safe House of Hope was formed in direct response to this problem.
Red Flags of Human Trafficking (courtesy National Trafficking Resource Center)
Common Work and Living Conditions:
- Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
- Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
- Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
- Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
- Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
- Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
- Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
- High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior:
- Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
- Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
- Avoids eye contact
Poor Physical Health:
- Lacks medical care and/or is denied medical services by employer
- Appears malnourished or shows signs of repeated exposure to harmful chemicals
- Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
Lack of Control:
- Has few or no personal possessions
- Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
- Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
- Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
- Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
- Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in
- Loss of sense of time
- Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
Other things you can do to work against sex trafficking include:
• NOT buying SEX
• NOT Buying Pornography – One in five images on the internet are of underage girls.
• NOT using ‘pimp’ as a good term
• NOT referring to women as whores, sluts or HOs
• NOT patronizing strip clubs, massage parlors, or places that are known for prostitution.