Campaign to aid human trafficking victims launches in New Mexico and Texas

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Christine Barber is the executive director and co-founder of Street Safe New Mexico, a nonprofit helping human trafficking victims.

Barber says it’s a bigger issue in New Mexico than you may think.

“I wish we could say it’s this number, definite, and it’s just it’s, it’s really nebulous, you know, it’s such a hidden world, for reason,” she said. “Because traffickers believe that what they’re doing really isn’t, no one really thinks what they’re doing is that bad.”

Now there’s a new campaign to help those countless victims, by reaching them in perhaps the only place they find privacy.

“One of the few places that a human trafficking victim might be alone is in the bathroom, and so really, it’s a, it’s a perfect opportunity to place a little lifeline in there for them. And if they see that, you know, hopefully, they can call or text,”  said Joey Marcades, with United Family.

United Family just launched a campaign to put information stickers in bathrooms. The stickers have the number of a hotline that victims can call or text while in the bathroom, away from their abuser.

Marcades said the stickers are going up in restrooms at almost 140 Albertsons grocery stores and gas stations throughout New Mexico and Texas.

Barber said her organization often takes this approach in person and does outreach at truck stop bathrooms.

“They’re reaching two different groups with this, they’re reaching the target group, which is the trafficking victim, the victim that finally has a moment alone, whether using the restroom, and they might see this, and the second group that they’re reaching is the public, the public, we still get this, when we do our presentations, the public says this, I didn’t know this was happening here in New Mexico, ” she said.

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, you can call 888-3737-888 or text “Help” to BE FREE (2333733).

To learn more about Street Safe and human trafficking, click here.