Stay Aware: How to Spot Sex Trafficking
Donna Hubbard, a flight attendant from Atlanta, lives to educate and inform others about sex trafficking and how to spot it as it’s happening. After being sex trafficked herself as a young woman which led to her being imprisoned, she was unsure how she’d recover from her past.
For many years, I couldn’t talk about being an addict. I couldn’t talk about being imprisoned. I couldn’t talk about getting on my feet, getting my life back, getting my children back. I could not talk about that part of me when I was victimized.
However, when Hubbard discovered that airline employees such as flight attendants possess the ability to screen for sex trafficking, she decided to be a part of the important cause. Hubbard now partners with Airline Ambassadors International, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization affiliated with the United Nations and recognized by the US Congress. It began as a network of airline employees using their pass privileges to help others and has expanded into a network of students, medical professionals, families and retirees who volunteer as “Ambassadors of Goodwill” in their home communities and abroad. It provides a way for members to share their unique skills and talents to care for others and bring compassion into action (airlineamb.org)
Hubbard has partnered with Georgia State University’s Counseling & Testing Center and Student Victim Assistance to further educate students, faculty and staff on the presence of human trafficking in the Atlanta area. She leads outreaches and workshops on helping other stay aware and how to assist victims with getting the help that they need.
Recognizing Signs of Human Trafficking
Common Work and Living Conditions:
- Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
- Is unpaid, paid very little or paid only through tips
- Works excessively long or unusual hours
- Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
- Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
- Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
- High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior:
- Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
- Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
- Avoids eye contact
Poor Physical Health:
- Lacks medical care and/or is denied medical services by employer
- Appears malnourished or shows signs of repeated exposure to harmful chemicals
- Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement or torture
Lack of Control:
- Has few or no personal possessions
- Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records or bank account
- Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
- Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
- Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
- Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in
- Loss of sense of time
- Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.