In observance of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, cities, counties, transit authorities, airports, and seaports across Washington and beyond are combining forces to prevent human trafficking with the Not Alone campaign, a statewide initiative to encourage victims of human trafficking to seek help.
Not Alone was conceived and launched in Washington state by Rebekah Covington, a survivor of human trafficking and Corporate Relations Manager at BEST (Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking), to raise awareness about human trafficking and help victims and survivors self-identify and get connected with services by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or texting 233733 (BEFREE).
“When people are trafficked, they feel isolated and with an inability to leave the situation,” explained Covington. “To create this campaign, we prioritized input from people with the lived experienced of trafficking. People experiencing trafficking will see signs that speak directly to them to give them hope that they are not alone — there is a way out of whatever terrible situation they are in.”
Human Trafficking in Aviation, Maritime, and Mass Transportation
Not Alone is one of the first campaigns to focus on victim and survivor self-identification rather than general public awareness. Surveys of trafficking victims indicated that 38% traveled by plane at some point during their exploitation, 63% reported using mass transit during their exploitation, and 26% reported that public and mass transportation played a role in at least one exit attempt.
Twenty-six partner organizations are hanging multilingual signage in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese (Mandarin), Korean, Vietnamese, and Somali throughout the state, including transit facilities, buses, terminals, restrooms, airport and seaport facilities, and buildings serving vulnerable populations. In addition, BEST is offering free human trafficking prevention training for employees throughout the month of January.
“We are doubling down on our commitment to ending human trafficking for a fourth consecutive year,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Sam Cho. “Displaying these posters at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the Port’s maritime facilities helps to ensure that anyone who sees them knows they are not alone and there is help. We pair this work with required employee training, so our team knows how to spot and interrupt this pandemic of human rights.”
The Not Alone posters and BEST’s online training direct individuals to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The Hotline is available for anyone to call 1 (888) 373-7888, text 233733 (BEFREE), or chat online at https://humantraffickinghotline.org/. The Hotline is free and available 24/7/365. It is available in English and Spanish, in addition to 200 other languages.