REALTORS® are actively engaged members of their communities, having the opportunity to meet and help more individuals and families than many other professions. Over time, you acquire a uniquely close view of neighborhoods and homes. You may not know it, but as a REALTOR®, YOU have the potential to help identify the warning signs of human trafficking in your area.
Safe House Project is an organization dedicated to increasing the identification rate of human trafficking victims beyond the current rate of 1% and helping to ensure that every survivor has access to safe housing and care. Below, they have provided a real-life testimony from a survivor whose life was saved thanks to the keen eye and quick thinking of a local REALTOR®. We hope you will read this story to help open your own eyes and learn how YOU can help be the difference in your own community.
“My story feels like it has no beginning. But, thanks to her, the bad chapters came to an end. My dad died before I was born. When mom was pregnant, a man came into her world and promised to take care of her and me. He did for a few years. He told her she didn’t have to work. She could stay at one of his houses in a nice neighborhood. He had another family so he couldn’t stay with us, but he always said he loved us.
But eventually that “love” started requiring things of momma. Men came into the house and I was sent outside to play. I knew she was getting hurt, but I couldn’t stop it. Momma said she had nowhere else to go, no job. So, she had to do it so he would keep providing for me.
The neighborhood around us was so different from the hell inside of our four walls. One day the house next door went up for sale. I saw family after family go in and tour the home. I wondered if they saw me. If they heard my silent cries for help for my momma. One day the woman selling the house stopped me as I played in the front yard. She said she had seen me outside every time she showed the house. She was kind. She asked me questions. Finally, she asked about my mom. I cried hard as I told her the truth. I felt my heart pleading that she would believe me. She said she had been trained to spot trafficking and she knew what to do. That night we were saved. Because one woman saw me, heard me, and knew what to do. “
Every year, hundreds of thousands of children are trafficked in the communities where we live, work, and play. Tragically, victim identification is only at 1%. But the solution to increasing victim identification above 1% is simple: education.
As a real estate professional, you are the eyes and ears of your community. You know the greatest restaurants, the best schools, and the top attractions. You also have an opportunity to educate yourself on how you can spot, report, and prevent trafficking in the communities you serve.
So, our request is simple: spend one hour taking the free OnWatch training at IAmOnWatch.org. Then, reach out to Safe House Project at email@example.com to learn more about how your company can become a certified “Partner in Freedom” to help build stronger, more vibrant communities.