Did you know that human trafficking is a $150 billion industry that makes a larger annual profit than Nike, Google and Starbucks combined? And did you know that you can help stop it? January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and Wella Education and Hairdressers at Heart have partnered with hairdressers including Haley Garber (@beautybyhaleygarber) and the Polaris Project to not only share critical information regarding the subject, but also to help end human trafficking altogether.
An estimated 40.3 million people are being trafficked throughout the world—and 75 percent of them are women and girls. Hairdressers are in a unique position to help since individuals often come to salons to be made “pretty” prior to being trafficked. According to Garber (@beautybyhaleygarber), there are several signs that someone in your chair may be trafficked:
- They give an inconsistent story about themselves or why they’re getting services
- They are unsure what town they are in
- They display bruising or even branding
- They don’t make eye contact
- They exhibit withdrawn or nervous behavior
Additionally Jessica Warburton (@hairhunter) suggests being on the lookout for these signs: they carry everything they own in a backpack; they have to ask permission (usually from an older man) for any and every service; they have a phone but no active cell service; and they are afraid or even terrified of their employer.
If you suspect someone is being trafficked, first and foremost maintain your own safety. If the victim is alone, simply asking them if they need help will usually elicit a response. Either way, you can call your local police department or you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.
Ultimately, perhaps the best way you can help is by recognizing the signs and sharing them with your fellow hairdressers. Spread the word on social media using the #HairdressersAgainstHumanTrafficking hashtag and together let’s end human trafficking and modern-day slavery.