People vanish all the time and human trafficking is one of the reasons. Human trafficking is a growing concern in the United States and abroad. Since I became a private investigator, I have been lucky enough to be involved with the Anti-Predator Project. The Anti-Predator Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating human trafficking and sexual predators in the United States. They use a team of licensed private investigators who volunteer their time to search for victims of human trafficking. You can find more information on the Anti-Predator Project at the link above. The cases we look into frequently involve individuals who, for the lack of a better word, simply vanish. One day, they are talking with family or friends, going to work, active on social media and the next no one knows where they are. Friends and family can’t contact them, they don’t show up for work and they cease to have a presence on social media.
According to the FBI’s national crime information Center (NCIC) report in 2014, there are 83,957 missing persons in the United States at any given moment. People go missing for several different reasons. Below are only a few of the reasons.
- Deliberate Disappearances – some people are running from something or they just want to start over.
- Unknown Circumstances – sometimes there is no clear explanation for the disappearance.
- Foul Play/Suspicious Circumstances – individuals become the victims of human trafficking, homicide, etc. This is a small portion of the total number of disappearances, but not knowing what happened to a loved one carries a big burden.
Human trafficking is the fastest-growing organized criminal activity and we need to educate more people about it. Florida is third in the nation in human trafficking cases. We as parents need to talk to our children about situational awareness. Getting your head out of your cellphone and observing the people and their activities around you can deter crime. If somebody looks suspicious or is doing something suspicious they are probably up to no good. Be observant and know what’s going on around you. It could save your life!