Human trafficking is the exploitation of people through forced labor or sexual exploitation by means of force, fraud, or coercion. It is modern-day slavery. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that over 40.3 million people worldwide are trafficked and exploited, with one in four victims under the age of 18.
It’s a Penalty’s goal is to prevent human trafficking and exploitation on a global scale because we believe that prevention is even better than cure. Our organization runs campaigns around major sporting events, including ”The Big Game,” to educate sports fans and the general public on what human trafficking is, the signs to look out for, the penalties for offenders, and how to take action and report any suspected cases. Knowing that large events can lead to increased instances of human trafficking due to an influx of visitors, It’s a Penalty harnesses the power of sport to raise awareness and protect potential victims. In order to prevent human trafficking from taking place, wide-scale cross-industry collaboration is key. During each campaign, It’s a Penalty works with a variety of partners to maximize impact: airlines (including Southwest Airlines!), airports; hotels including Hilton, IHG and Motel 6; Airbnb; rideshare companies including Uber, and the sports industry: including the NFL, law enforcement, and local NGOs to reach people as they travel to, arrive and move around the hosting city.
It is because of collaboration that It’s a Penalty has already been able to have such a phenomenal impact, with an average reach of 180 million people worldwide per campaign. Together with partners, It’s a Penalty has helped to protect 16,955 survivors of exploitation and trafficking since 2014, as well as prevent many more from being exploited.
This year, ahead of “The Big Game” in Los Angeles, It’s a Penalty is again partnering with Southwest Airlines to raise awareness about human trafficking to Passengers traveling to Los Angeles and across the U.S. “We are delighted to be partnering with Southwest Airlines. We commend their continued commitment to joining the It’s a Penalty Campaign to help to end human trafficking and exploitation. It is only by working together that we can make a difference!” - Sarah de Carvalho MBE, CEO of It’s a Penalty. The 2022 campaign is It’s a Penalty’s twelfth global campaign. The campaign is proudly supported by high-profile NFL players who lend their voices to help raise awareness via a 30-second campaign video.
If anyone suspects they’ve encountered a case of human trafficking during their travels, or if you see a combination of the signs of exploitation, we encourage you to call the Polaris National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 to make a report or text 'Be Free' to 233733. For more information about the organization, please visit www.itsapenalty.org, or follow It’s a Penalty on social media (@its_apenalty)!