The National Human Trafficking Hotline has reportedly received 2,200 calls concerning sex trafficking with connections to Mexico or Latin America since it was set up in 2007.
Polaris, the organization that operates the hotline, plans to target these demographics, with emphasis on the Houston area, in its latest anti-trafficking campaign, according to a news release from the group.
In partnership with Hispanic Communications Network, a social media marketing company serving U.S. Hispanic communities, Polaris will be releasing all-Spanish public service announcements, social media strategies, celebrity endorsements and survivor testimonies throughout the next few months, geared toward raising awareness in the Hispanic community nationwide, according to the Polaris news release.
“When communities are equipped to recognize the signs of sex trafficking and know there’s a trusted resource available to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they can play a critical role in the fight against this crime,” said My Lo Cook, Polaris’ strategic initiatives director for Mexico, in the release.
“This awareness campaign is the first step toward empowering Latino communities that are particularly affected by this form of trafficking with the knowledge and tools to join the solution.”
Join the Solution, or Únete a la Solución, is the campaign’s official title.
Through the decade-long operation of the hotline, Polaris has identified sex trafficking of young women — often minors — from Mexico and Latin America as one of the most prevalent forms of exploitation, said Polaris CEO Bradley Myles in the release.
“If we want to identify more victims and stop this brutal crime from recurring, we have to raise awareness of how sex trafficking manifests in our communities, and that help is available through the National Hotline,” Myles said in the release.
Data collected by Polaris has identified more than 4,300 sex trafficking victims with ties to Mexico or Central America. Of those victims, more than 88 percent were women and 45 percent were minors.
“I hope that, through this campaign, the public will understand that we are a lifeline for victims,” said trafficking survivor and campaign spokesperson, Carmen, in the release. “We must be aware and speak up because this could happen to us some day — and then who will be there for us?”
Post originally appeared on Chron.com.