**Disclaimer** If you are in an emergency situation right now call 911.
We have all experienced the feeling when something has gone wrong. It is like cold dread that plummets through your stomach. Yet an even worse feeling is when you have no idea what to do about it.
If you suspect you or someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, it can be scary and overwhelming. I assure you, there are responsible things you can do and there is a way out.
We want everyone to be equipped with the right tools to respond in this kind of situation. We’ve put together a list of resources you can contact and ways you can help.
Summit Regional Human Trafficking Task Force (330) 252-2614
One of the newest additions to RAHAB is our partnership with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. Together we’ve created our HT Task Force. This task force is a specialized unit which provides 24/7 emergency law enforcement response. Not only does law enforcement show up to address the call, but one of our very own RAHAB Task Force victim advocates do as well.
What makes this so special, you ask? Our Task Force members provide case management and support from the minute they meet a survivor. Whether the need is safe housing, a hot meal, medical attention, case management, or emotional support, our Task Force is with them the whole way through.
Our Task Force actively serves four NE Ohio counties: Summit, Stark, Portage, and Medina. However, even if we receive calls from outside those counties, we will work with you to see if there is a task force in your area and link you with local services that can help.
Human Trafficking Hotline 1 (888) 373-7888
If you are outside of the counties our Task Force currently serves, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline to report human trafficking. You can also text “HELP” or “INFO” to 233733.
Call RAHAB’s Direct Line (330) 819-3326
For non-emergency services, you can call RAHAB’s direct line. Either a RAHAB employee will answer your call or you can follow the prompts to leave a message that will get to the right person. The Adult Safe House, Family Support Line, Stark Drop-In Center, and Akron Drop-In Center are all connected to this number.
Business hours are 9-4, Monday-Friday, but you can always leave a message!
Call Our Drop-In Centers
Additionally, f you are looking for a safe place to go for the afternoon, we have adult Drop-In Centers in two counties: Summit and Stark. These locations provide meals, a safe place to hang out, a place to do laundry free of charge, closets to get new clothes, community, and optional Bible studies.
Stark County Drop-In Center is open 11-5 Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Tuesday and Friday we are open 1-5. The Drop-In can be reached at 330-388-5286.
Summit County Drop-In Center is open 9-4 Monday-Friday and can be reached at 330-805-2329.
Know the Signs
Knowing what to look for is one of the most important parts of being equipped to recognize and report human trafficking.
There are many different situations in which children and adults are trafficked. Some of these are romantic relationships, familial trafficking, online exploitation, through peers, survival trafficking, lack of choice/options due to poverty and history of victimization.
Trafficking almost always happens in the context of a relationship. Traffickers will be as diverse as your community and can include people the survivor/victim refers to as their “boyfriend, “friend,” or even a family member.
Some indicators of trafficking are:
- Physical/dental trauma
- Consistent somatic symptoms (recurring headaches, abdominal pain, etc.)
- Poor hygiene
- Evidence of self-harm
- Signs of drug use/withdrawal
- Evidence of pregnancy/abortion at young age
- Suspicious tattoos or branding
- Court/system involved
- Frequently truant from school
- Uncommon obsession with being connected to their phone
- Frequently running away from home/foster care placements
- Highly sexualized behavior/dress/social media
- Relationship with older male(s)
- Frequently unexplained/conflicting stories
- Recruitment of other peers
Our advice is to save the numbers above in your phone so you are prepared in any situation to report human trafficking.
Stay equipped to reach out for professional help when you or someone you know may be being trafficked or are in need of services. Stay up to date with RAHAB for programming news and more information on how to be equipped to fight human trafficking.