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Why the prevalence of human trafficking is so hard to track

 Harold and Dancy D'Souza are the survivors of labor trafficking
Emily Maxwell
Harold and Dancy D'Souza are the survivors of labor trafficking.

There are approximately 24.9 million people in forced labor worldwide according to the International Labour Organization. But reliable statistics on human trafficking are hard to come by. As Erin Meyer, the anti-human trafficking manager with the Salvation Army explains, survivors often do not know they are being victimized.

"We certainly do work with individuals who don't self-identify, maybe they don't self-identify as being a victim. It's a very disempowering term and a disempowering concept," Meyer says. It may take survivors years to come forward.

This was the case with Harold D'Souza. He's the survivor of labor trafficking and worked without pay for more than a year before reporting the abuse. Now he is the founder of Eyes Open International and works to help victims of human trafficking.

To report human trafficking call 513-800-1863. The Salvation Army and End Slavery Cincinnati are holding an annual conference on Feb. 4. The Greater Cincinnati Anti-Human Trafficking Conference is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss Human Trafficking Awareness Month are Ohio Department of Public Safety Office of Criminal Justice Services State Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Maria Busch; The Salvation Army Anti-Human Trafficking Manager and End Slavery Cincinnati Coalition Manager Erin Meyer; and Eyes Open International President and Co-founder Harold D'Souza.

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