A young girl narrates her story of being sold for sex and wondering why hotel workers did nothing.

Sex trafficking is happening right under our noses.

"At least 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor." — Equality Now

Every year, approximately 2 million children are victims of sex trafficking. Some are kidnapped, some are runaways, some are even exploited by their own trusted caretakers.

And unfortunately, many of these horrific occurrences happen in hotels.


What if hotel workers could do more? The one described in this #DoesYourHotelKnow video might have.

Imagine the difference a hotel worker could have made in that girl's life. They — and even you as a guest — can decide to be vigilant.

Be aware of what to notice about people coming and going in a hotel who may be being exploited, like these flags from The Polaris Project:

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
  • Appears malnourished
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of their own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Is not allowed to or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
  • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where they are staying or give an address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts or do not know what city they are in
  • Loss of sense of time
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in their story

Don't be afraid to make a call.

If you see these red flags, immediately call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at (888) 373-7888. Or text INFO or HELP to 233733 (BeFree).

You could make the entire difference in a victim being rescued and predators being apprehended. And sharing this can help others be ready to do the same.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.