6 • Call 1.800.348.4732 on California, Ohio and Texas, states that are known hotbeds for trafficking and where LIFE summer pro- grams take place. “Once students realize that many kids caught up in human trafficking are their ages or younger, they want to do something,” says Toni. Before they can move into action, however, they need to understand the complex realities of this social justice issue. The big business of selling human beings There are many reasons people get caught in the web of human trafficking. One of the biggest drivers is money. In 2014, in the U.S. alone, human traffickers generated $35 billion in profits, according to a report released by the International Labor Organization. “Unlike drugs, you can resell a person several times,” says Toni. “It’s also easy to entrap people in this work. Predators prey on people’s vulnerabilities.” A snapshot of those who are tricked, scammed or coerced into sex and labor trafficking reveals a push-pull factor. “Many are pushed into the arms of traffickers as a result of desperation, loneliness, poverty or simply being a girl in a patriarchal society,” says Tony. “Others are pulled in by the allure of good jobs or education in the U.S.” It is easy to take advantage of destitute people. Runaways, foster kids and children who suffer abuse and neglect at home are easy marks for sex traffickers. Migrants, refugees — any person barely eking out an existence — can be lured by the American Dream of a better life. Many myths surround this subject. The most pervasive is that human trafficking refers only to sex trafficking. In reality, sex trafficking makes up about 16 percent of the human trafficking pie. A groundbreaking report released in 2014 by the Urban Institute and Northeastern University revealed that labor trafficking in the U.S. is far more pervasive and woven into American culture. The report details how people, usually foreign workers, are lured here and forced into working for meager wages — often in dreadful conditions — in almost every sector of the economy. For example, they mow grass for land- scaping crews, clean dishes in restaurants, paint toe- nails in salons and clean hotel rooms. Beyond U.S. borders, labor trafficking snakes its way into our global economy where products — from cars to electronics to pet food — are produced to meet American’s demand for cheap stuff. Says Bridgette Carr, director of the human trafficking at University of Michigan, when it comes to labor trafficking: “We are all culpable.” A “Blue Heart” for justice Marianist LIFE trains high school leaders to know the signs of trafficking (see below), identify the myths and realities about this subject and challenge fellow students to get involved. LIFE uses the Blue Heart Campaign, a United Nations anti-trafficking program, to help students launch awareness campaigns at their schools or parishes. Students create blue heart stickers that can be worn or handed out as conversation starters. “Awareness is the first step,” says Houston Kirby, 10 COMMON SIGNS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING Victims are … 1. Younger than 18 2. Not free to leave or come and go as they wish 3. Fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive 4. Using two cell phones; frequently checking messages 5. Unpaid, paid very little or paid only through tips 6. Working excessively long or unusual hours 7. Not allowed breaks or suffer under unusual restrictions at work 8. Under high security measures at work or living locations (such as opaque windows, boarded windows, windows with bars, barbed wire, security cameras) 9. Not knowledgeable of their whereabouts or the city in which they are 10. Inconsistent in their stories For more signs of human trafficking, visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline: humantraffickinghotline.org.