The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally. More than half are women. A quarter are children. The victims of trafficking, exploited for sex or labor, are the most vulnerable and desperate among us. But it’s not only in far off countries where people are victimized. In 2015, it’s estimated 25,000 people were trafficked in the US*. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, neighbors and laborers—they can all be victims.
Officer Lourdes Nieto, a thirteen-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, knows these statistics well. For her, these grim statistics are more than an unspeakable injustice. They’re a call to action. A single mom from one of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods, Officer Nieto works tirelessly to raise awareness of human trafficking among citizens and the police. On her own time—on top of her daily responsibilities—she trains other officers to recognize the signs of trafficking. She conducts community information sessions to help people learn to spot and stop trafficking. And she spends time with survivors at a local safe house, cooking for them, talking with them, and helping them heal.
For showing what it means to go above and beyond the call of duty, Officer Nieto was named an American Red Cross 2016 Law Enforcement Hero.
Her compassion and dedication inspire others to keep innovating so first responders can be their best in the moments that matter.
We’re forever grateful to the men and women who fulfill their duty when we need them most. Learn about them and help us honor them by telling their stories with the hashtag #DutyRunsDeep.