Human Trafficking Awareness Day

By Jelena Prosevski*

Today, January 11th is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Trafficking in persons is a serious human rights violation, which impacts us both globally and at the local level. 

The year 2010 marked the first time the United States was evaluated in the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report. By doing so, alongside activists and service providers, the state contributed to bringing to the forefront the issue of domestic trafficking.

Reports and shared testimonies of human trafficking strike most people at the core of their beliefs about equality, fairness and protection of the vulnerable. Some who take part in attempts to solve trafficking in persons believe that it is critical to get directly involved in rescuing survivors and drive the process of reporting cases of trafficking to law enforcement.

The New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) works to raise awareness about trafficking in persons and proven ways to addressing trafficking.

NYATN believes that understanding the nature and underlying causes of trafficking in persons is critical for ensuring that optimal means for resolving the issue are made available and applied.

A trafficked person usually experiences fraud, coercion or force in their work, and frequently operates in climate of fear. Trafficking tends to take place in invisible and isolated situations and industries, such as farming, sweatshops, brothels, and household labor. Trafficking can range from subsequently changed agreed-upon terms of employment, such as reduced or withheld wages and prolonged hours to more overt conditions, which include withheld documents and psychological and physical threats or abuse of trafficked persons and their family members.

Relying on the self-determination of human trafficking survivors, by facilitating access to services and law enforcement by survivors’ choice and at their pace, provides a more certain path to improving their lives.

Trafficked persons find themselves in vulnerable situations usually as a result of attempts to solve poverty, unemployment and discrimination.

Addressing the underlying issues that lead persons to vulnerable situations, by for example improving access to education and job training, enforcing labor laws, and creating safe channels for immigration, can significantly reduce the likelihood of trafficking.

To learn more about current issues and policies in trafficking in persons you can visit

*After receiving her Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University, Jelena Prosevski recently founded a management consulting business, drawing on her more than a decade of project management experience in private, non-profit, and public sectors both within the United States and internationally. Her personal experience of the 1990s’ conflict in the Balkans deeply impacted her outlook and prompted her desire to actively support the achievement of justice through social impact-driven endeavors. As a result, Jelena spearheaded projects that focus on human rights promotion and addressing gender-based violence.

The opinions and commentary posted in this public forum reflect the viewpoints of guest contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Council for Research on Women, its member organizations, or affiliates. Contributors are responsible for the accuracy of content posted under their name.

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