National Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and here at Fantasy Gifts NJ, we wanted to spread awareness about it, especially the sex trafficking side, however, we want to post this trigger warning for those who have either experienced trafficking or have experienced things such as assault and r*pe.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery and occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against their will. Force, fraud, or coercion need not be present if the individual engaging in commercial sex is under 18 years of age. Trafficking can happen to anyone of any age, race, gender, religion and socioeconomic status.

Recognizing Sex Trafficking

Here are some ways that you can recognize than an individual is possibly being trafficking, but could also be indicators of domestic abuse, sexual assault or rape.

  • Want to stop participating in commercial sex but feel scared or unable to leave the situation.
  • Disclose that they were reluctant to engage in commercial sex but that someone pressured them into it.
  • Live where they work or are transported by guards between home and workplace.
  • Are children who live with or are dependent on a family member with a substance use problem or who is abusive.
  • Have a “pimp” or “manager” in the commercial sex industry.
  • Work in an industry where it may be common to be pressured into performing sex acts for money, such as a strip club, illicit cantina, go-go bar, or illicit massage business.
  • Have a controlling parent, guardian, romantic partner, or “sponsor” who will not allow them to meet or speak with anyone alone or who monitors their movements, spending, or communications.

Why is This important to an Adult Toy Store?

Spreading awareness of human sex trafficking is hugely important because it DOES happen here in the United States and it is our family members and friends that are the victims of this crime. There is two main reasons why spreading awareness is important and the first does have to do with sex workers. Majority of sex workers are willing workers and mistaking or promoting sex work as trafficking is not just harming their income, but potentially placing them in harms way. Bills such as SESTA/FOSTA have not only tried to kill online sex work, but reports in 2021 have shown that these bills have not helped prosecutors in tackling these cases. The other reason has to do with the trauma that victims endure while being trafficking such as abuse and rape as well as being arrested and charged as a willing participant even though they are victims. This can cause problems not only with victims not receiving the help they need to escape the situation, but can have a ripple effect in other aspects of their life such as mental health and relationships (with everyone, not just sexual partners). If this is something that interests you, whether it be fighting sex trafficking or changing the views of sex work, you can visit Decriminalize Sex Work for more information and resources. If you are someone who is a victim of trafficking or know someone who is a victim and needs help, you can visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline for assistance.

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