Traffickers use social media to recruit individuals who they can exploit. When young people have trusted adults to connect with, they can reduce risk and stay safe.
A few weeks after completing a training provided by Asian Association of Utah Visit disclaimer page (AAU) staff, a shelter case manager, David (name has been changed to protect the privacy of the people we serve), at a partner organization contacted AAU for assistance. David identified red flags indicating a potential trafficking scheme involving two young women in the program who were considering leaving the shelter with an unknown older man. These young women initially met the man on the internet where he offered them a job and a free place to stay in another state.
The AAU staff provided guidance to David on how to speak to the young women about potential risks. The young women had a positive and trusting relationship with David and soon crafted a safety plan to prevent any exploitation. They agreed to let David meet the man; however, when the young women informed the man that their case manager was going to be meeting him, the man stopped responding to their messages and deleted his Facebook profile. Today, the young women continue to live in the shelter and participate in weekly meetings for prevention of sexual exploitation.