As this summer comes to an end, let us not forget the victims of human trafficking and the families of those impacted by this horrendous crime. For many of us, we are currently busy with preparing for back to school whether it be for ourselves or our children. The number of victims of human trafficking under the age of 18 is disheartening. This could be a child from your own community. These statistics are disturbing, and we must come together to comfort these families and join in their fight for justice and the safe return of their loved ones.

In July, domestically, there were 131 individuals arrested, suspected, or charged with human trafficking activities, as well as 48 victims rescued, including seven children under the age of 18. There were six new laws passed and 44 community initiatives.

Internationally, there were 76 individuals arrested, suspected, or charged with human trafficking activity, as well as one victim rescued. There were no new laws passed and 10 community initiatives. These numbers can only be improved if we come together as a community and acknowledge the severity of this problem.

August means the start of a new academic year, and I along with the NCAS and UNICEF USA, have been busy planning for this semester’s Shut Out Trafficking events. We are excited to visit numerous college campuses to engage with students and student athletes about how to combat human trafficking. To learn more, like the Shut-Out Trafficking Facebook page and follow End Trafficking on twitter. I continue to challenge my Facebook friends to have an honest and open discussion about human trafficking in America.

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