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It Takes a Community to Stop Drug and Human Trafficking

Some of the greatest threats within a community are hiding in plain sight. For example, traffickers can use encrypted messaging applications and social media platforms to make drug sales. Cash apps and cryptocurrency make it easier for them to receive payments but more difficult for law enforcement to catch. In addition, despite public safety campaigns that promote awareness about human trafficking, many people still overlook victims they encounter throughout their daily routines. With so much information and many warnings being posted on social media, in shopping centers, at hospitals, and even on the back of bathroom stalls, critical information about these criminal activities does not reach everyone who needs to know.

Unfortunately, even among those who are more likely to encounter victims in the course of their daily duties – public safety professionals, first responders, medical and hospital personnel, volunteers, and others who protect and serve their communities – signs of illicit drug activity and human trafficking can be overlooked and unreported. Tips from community members can help law enforcement locate clandestine drug labs and synthetic drug manufacturing facilities, but some unusual activity still goes unreported. Victims of human trafficking encountering first responders may be too scared or unable to directly ask for help, and the responders may not ask the right questions or notice small details. In some cases, identifying one crime can also shed light on others. For example, the crimes of drug and human trafficking are becoming more intertwined as traffickers leverage opportunities to diversify their businesses and boost profits.

The authors in this June edition of the Domestic Preparedness Journal urge those who already dedicate their time to promoting safe communities to go one step further in combating drug and human trafficking. It is each person’s responsibility – regardless of official roles and duties – to learn about the threats and hazards related to the drug and human trafficking industries and how they can impact any community. Take a few extra minutes this week to learn some new facts and be more alert to and report potentially nefarious activities before they have dire consequences.

Catherine L. Feinman

Catherine L. Feinman, M.A., joined Domestic Preparedness in January 2010. She has more than 35 years of publishing experience and currently serves as editor of the Domestic Preparedness Journal, DomesticPreparedness.com, and The Weekly Brief. She works with writers and other contributors to build and create new content that is relevant to the emergency preparedness, response, and recovery communities. She received a bachelor’s degree in International Business from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management from American Military University.

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