County Conversation Podcast: Human Trafficking Awareness

Published on
01/31/2023
Human Trafficking Awareness Podcast

 

Stacy Ziebell, program manager of the Countywide Coordination Team in Domestic and Sexual Violence Services, appeared on a recent episode of the “County Conversation” podcast. The topic was human trafficking – a timely one since January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. 

However, according to the Polaris Project, human trafficking is a year-round problem. In 2021, “10,359 situations of human trafficking were reported to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline involving 16,554 individual victims.” 

According to Ziebell, human trafficking is usually broken down into two types – sex trafficking and labor trafficking – and is essentially the control and exploitation of another person's labor, or commercial sex act, through force, fraud and coercion.

There are signs that community members can be lookout for, according to Ziebell. “You don't have to be able to recognize exactly that someone is a victim of human trafficking, you just have to know if you realize someone is in need of help. Is someone’s passport or documentation being held from them? Is a person free to come and go at will? If a young person starts showing up with some really nice technology. These are indicators."
 

Stacy Ziebell Graphic

“One of the most pervasive myths is [that] someone's going to snatch you off the street and traffic you," Ziebell said. “To be honest, it's not the reality of what we see. It's not the norm. Human trafficking is more insidious because people are usually trafficked by someone they know. More often than not, people stay in human trafficking situations because they do not see themselves as victims or survivors. They don't recognize that they're in that situation. They've been so expertly manipulated that they feel like they're making their own choice.”

Resources

The county’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (DSVS) offers various services, counseling, advocacy, education prevention, outreach and community engagement and coordination services. There is also a 24-hour hotline (703-360-7273) and the Domestic Violence Action Center (703-246-4573), created to provide culturally responsive information and support services for victims of domestic and sexual violence, stalking, and human sex trafficking, and their families. If you are in danger, call 9-1-1.

The County Conversation Podcast

The “County Conversation” is a podcast featuring employees and subject matter experts from the Fairfax County Government discussing programs, services and items of interest to residents of Fairfax County. Click here to listen to past episodes of "County Conversation .”

To find other county podcasts, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/podcasts .

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