Misinformation on human trafficking hurts victims, organizations say

RALEIGH -- In the last few months, more people have discovered the disturbing, profitable crime of human trafficking.

With the increase in interest comes a surge in misinformation. That misinformation is creating a barrage of issues for organizations on the frontlines of prevention and resources.

The Polaris Project, a national organization, outlines multiple forms of human trafficking.

The heat map you've likely seen on your social media feed doesn't only include victims of child sex trafficking.

It also covers victims of labor trafficking which includes adults.

The organization addressing the issue of shared false information saying "A barrage of conspiracy related reports from people with no direct knowledge of trafficking situations can overwhelm services meant for victims..."

Additionally, The Polaris Project breaks down Myths, Facts, and Statistics.

READ MORE: Apex leads the way in the fight against human trafficking, hopes to inspire other NC cities

The fight against human trafficking is a non-partisan issue. Legislation to help survivors and victims' dates back to 2000 when the Clinton Administration signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Recently, President Trump allocated $35 million to combat human trafficking.

"The concerns that I have more for large businesses being involved in human trafficking is very much on the side of labor trafficking," said Nicole Bernard with Shield North Carolina, a nonprofit which focuses on education on human trafficking in hopes of prevention

In many cases, Bernard adds, survivors have had relationships with their trafficker. Many times they are a family member. "It may be as much as 37%, 40%."

In the end, the posts you share may distract you from the signs of someone who really is in danger.

Monika Johnson-Holster works with North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, or NCCASA. "When you're taking in misinformation, you're internalizing how human trafficking may look in your state, so you may miss a normal person or house in your neighborhood that you should be paying attention to red flags because you're too caught up in all of the "gates" that are happening on social media."