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The average age of trafficked children is 11 to 14.

What can I do to be aware and protect myself? The most important step that you can take to keep yourself safe while traveling is to be aware. If you are aware of the people around you, you are more likely to notice suspicious behavior and be able to protect yourself from dangerous situations. If you feel that someone is watching you, especially if you are alone, move to an area where there are other people and even consider

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starting a conversation with a stranger.Traffickers and criminals in general prefer easy targets, and even the possibility that you are friends with the group of Japanese tourists you just started a conversation with will probably be enough to scare them off (for tips on starting a conversation with a stranger, see page 82). Another important way to keep yourself safe is to display good posture and assertive body language. If you act like you know what you are doing and are confident that you can handle yourself, traffickers are less likely to target you. Looking people in the eye, standing up straight, and walking with purpose will make anyone think twice about trying something against you. Again, traffickers and criminals are looking for vulnerable people, and even though you might feel vulnerable in a new country or city, if you refuse to let that show, you’ll be safer for it.

If I suspect someone is being trafficked, what should I do? There are different protocols in different countries for reporting suspected human-trafficking cases. In the United States, the hotline for National Human Trafficking Resource Center is 888-373-7888 and is available 24/7. They have volunteers that speak over 200 languages and help individuals know what they should do about their specific situation and the resources in their area. You can also text “HELP” or “INFO” to 233733. Reporting suspicious behavior can save someone’s life. This is another instance where being aware of what is going on around you can be critical, not only for your well-being but the well-being of others. Shyima Hall

From left: photography by Jef King and

forced to work for generations. But don’t be fooled. Human trafficking is an issue in every country in the world, even the United States. An estimated 17,000 people are trafficked into the United States every year. Often, impoverished individuals from Mexico will be offered a job like waitressing in the United States, but when they arrive, they are forced into prostitution or unpaid argicultural work.

Stowaway Winter 2016  

Winter is here, but adventure awaits! Strike up a conversation, spark a new interest, or slip into something familiar in this issue of Stowa...

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