January is human trafficking awareness month. Here are the signs

Reporter: Taylor Smith
Published: Updated:

Knowing the signs of human trafficking can save a person’s life and get him or her out of a dangerous, deadly situation.

Fawn Volkert, the director of Path to Freedom, now shares her story to save others.

“I was groomed for victimization in my house,” Volkert said. “In my early twenties, I was homeless and I met a truck driver. And he treated me super well and was buying me clothes.”

Volkert said human traffickers could be charming, just like the truck driver in her encounter. Thankfully, someone watching from outside of her situation saw the signs of human trafficking.

January is the human trafficking prevention month. It is a time where awareness is vital.

Kristine Hollingsworth, who works at the Florida Department of Health Collier County, said there are some consistent signs, such as “bruises that are in various stages of healing.” Malnutrition, lack of sleep or water consumption, anxiety, depression and avoidance of eye contact are other signs.

Hollingsworth wants you to know these signs so more people can escape the bondage of human trafficking. The health department is passing out cards to middle and high school students with numbers to get help. Deputies in Collier County will also have cards with the signs of what human trafficking can look like so they always know what to look for.

“I was informed by a bystander who told me what was happening and said, ‘You are in danger,'” Volkert said. “And because that woman was informed, I escaped before anything horrible happened to me.”

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