Human Trafficking and Real Estate

This was a topic I did not expect to come across. I was scrolling through some articles from Deliver Fund, when I started reading one titled "The Real Problems of Human Trafficking in Real Estate." This was an interesting read, and once you finish reading this, I recommend reading what Deliver Fund shared. Real estate professionals are one of the first lines of defense in recognizing and fighting human trafficking. Anyone involved in real estate should take note. 

RelatedWas Johnny Depp a victim of domestic abuse?

Most people who choose a career in real estate probably don't think about fighting human trafficking. The trafficking of humans doesn't happen in back-alleys or third world countries. It can happen in our own backyard. Our own community. How does fighting human trafficking tie into the real estate industry? Well, what do real estate agents primarily do? Show and visit houses. Real estate professionals are the first line of defense against traffickers. Let me illustrate. A real estate agent has scheduled a showing for Tuesday at an apartment complex with a potential buyer. The apartment complex is in a well-established community. The neighbors are friendly, and are sad to see the tenant move, especially since she only moved there a few months ago. However, nothing seems off. The realtor and the buyer meet the tenant and landlord. The landlord appears to be well-spoken, knowing how to answer every question. However, the landlord refuses to allow the realtor or the potential tenant to enter the apartment alone, insisting to be there with them. What about the tenant? Well, it turns out she doesn't know much about the apartment complex or the neighborhood. The real estate agent speaks with some of the neighbors who note that the tenant doesn't leave her apartment that often, but she gets many visitors. 

In that example alone, I provided three signs of a potential human trafficking situation. With recognizing human trafficking, you never know what signs will be present. I provided several, but some situations will show only one sign, whereas another situation will present five of them.

Realtors are probably one of the only people who are allowed on a trafficker's property, so it would make sense for a realtor to be trained in recognizing the signs of human trafficking. Put it like this. If your gut says something is wrong, listen to it. What signs should a realtor (or homeowners and neighbors) look for? Based on an article from Real Estate Express, here are some you should look for:
  • Unusually high numbers of people coming in and out of the property while you’re showing it.
  • Interior locks on doors or windows.
  • A seller who insists on being present while you’re showing the home and is overly controlling.
  • Tenants or guests who lack knowledge of the neighborhood — human trafficking victims almost never leave the home unless they’re being transported to a new location.
  • School-aged children who are not in school and don’t appear to be homeschooling.
  • Tenants who avoid eye contact or seems overly anxious.
  • The inexplicable appearance of costly gifts.
  • Well rehearsed or inconsistent stories.
  • Someone who appears to be a family member but is dressed very differently or has a significantly lower level of hygiene than the rest of the household.

By recognizing the signs of human trafficking, which you can be trained on, that agent can alert authorities of suspicious activity. Now, there will be the feeling of if you should call because you aren't sure if you are correct in your assumptions, or simply overthinking or overreacting. Rhonda Sciortino shared that even if you are afraid to make the call, just do it. "I can’t emphasize enough, hoping that people will have the courage to make the call and not worried about someone thinking you’re wrong for calling. Let’s just try to do the right thing. We could very well be saving a life." If you work in the real estate profession, please take the time to get trained in recognizing the signs of human trafficking. This could be a major game-changer in fighting human trafficking.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Looking forward to reading your comment! Side note: If you are using Safari to read/comment, you will have troubles commenting. Use Google Chrome for comments!