Many have the attitude of things like this don't happen here well they do.
We never think about things we don’t see or hear about. Human trafficking in Maine is one of them. When you mention trafficking in Maine the first thing that comes to mind is drugs with the national media coverage of what is called the fentanyl crisis. However, the facts show that there is a human trafficking problem in Maine even though it is not as horrific as it is in other parts of the country it is still disturbing. There are some resources in Maine that you can access for help if you are aware of human trafficking, but would you recognize it if you saw it happening? Most people would say no, and many do not know the shortfall or gaps in services available to deal with the issue because it is not at the forefront here in Maine.
Nationwide 50,123 signals were received. Since the start of the hotline in Maine 645 calls, 80 emails, 74 SMS, 53 online reports, and 11 web chats have been made. Breaking it down further from 2007 to 2014 in Maine there were 133 signals on the hotline and 3 of those were from victims or survivors. Now looking at the last set of statistics from 2021 there were 175 signals and 47 of them were from victims or survivors. This number seems low in comparison to other areas, but it is significant for the fact that many others were not found or reported. Those numbers will never be recorded or known but those victims are still important because they are still out there and still need to be rescued. As mentioned, many people never knew that this problem existed in Maine or that there is a need for services to help find them or to help them when they were recovered. Who provides the services and where are they available in your area or are they. Especially today with law enforcement struggling to recruit and keep officers, who are picking up the slack? Well, that is a good question and is there an answer to this? Well, the private sector can pick up and close the gaps that are in the system. Many of the gaps include housing, transportation, medical treatment including counseling. Other services are more specialized but still can be provided by private sector companies.
Demographics seem to be by type of trafficking, venues, gender, age, and citizenship have been broken down. The two types of trafficking tracked in 2021 were sex trafficking 22 individuals, and labor force 7 individuals. The venues of sex trafficking were illicit massage parlors and spa businesses 4, residence-based commercial sex 3, and other types 15. The labor trafficking was hospitality was 4 individuals, and other 3 individuals. The ages were adults, 17 individuals, and 6 minors. The genders were 23 females and 4 males. The citizenship consisted of 5 foreign nationals and the rest were US citizen
With the need for resources in protective services, housing, and transportation a private security contract company that offers protective details could fill some of the gaps. Transportation and housing could also be undertaken by these companies especially short-term housing while on a protective detail. We are working on solutions to help in the areas we can but it is a process that will take time.