Rural Areas Create Vulnerabilities
Rural areas are known for having fewer people and a thick country landscape. While envisioning a rural community, human trafficking may not come to mind for most. However, many factors present vulnerabilities for trafficking survivors in rural communities. Trafficking survivors in rural areas find themselves isolated with little employment opportunities and a lack of services. An additional barrier for trafficking survivors in rural communities is the small population of the area. Because everyone knows everyone in a small town, trafficked people are often stigmatized. People trafficking in rural areas are men and women, minors, especially runaway/homeless youth, Indigenous persons or Alaskan Natives, and/or temporary visa holders. Some other risk factors include prior abuse or neglect, substance use disorders, and prior debt or economic challenges.
Yes – human trafficking is a serious problem in our North Florida communities: many vulnerabilities come to mind for those who are sex and labor trafficked including isolation, fewer services and job opportunities, not as many places to seek help and places where traffickers and recruiters can operate undetected. Other issues like opioid use and poverty can intersect and create an even more dangerous situation for those who are already vulnerable. STAC would like to join with members of Gadsden, Liberty, Jefferson, Wakulla and Franklin counties as well as throughout Leon – if you would like to know more, please contact us at stac@surviveandthriveadvocacy.