Help Fight Human Trafficking
Originally posted to U.S. Department of State
January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month. This year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ theme is Partner to Prevent, an opportunity to highlight the importance of partnerships and collaboration in strengthening anti-trafficking efforts. Preventing human trafficking cannot be accomplished alone; rather, we must build partnerships across all sectors of society to improve the lives of those we serve. When we #Partner2Prevent, we can enhance our efforts to keep everyone safe from human trafficking. Visit OTIP’s website throughout January for news, resources, and events.
What Is Human Trafficking?
[ hu-man traf-fick-ing ]
Human Trafficking is modern day slavery. It is the illegal exploitation of a person by way of force, fraud, or coercion coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. It is a highly profitable crime and a violation of Human Rights. It can happen to anyone, anywhere–NO MATTER AGE, RACE, GENDER IDENTITY, SEX, ETHNICITY, NATIONALITY, IMMIGRATION STATUS, AND SOCIOECONOMIC CLASS.
Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. The one thing human trafficking victims commonly share is their vulnerability to being exploited. It isa highly profitable and global crime.
Types of Human Trafficking include:
- Sex Trafficking
- Forced Labor
- Domestic Servitude
Traffickers might use the following methods to lure victims into trafficking situations:
- False promises of well-paying jobs
- Romantic relationships
- Language barriers, fear of their traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement frequently keep victims from seeking help, making human trafficking a hidden crime.
Traffickers look for people who are easy targets for a variety of reasons, including:
- Psychological or emotional vulnerability
- Economic hardship
- Lack of a social safety net
- Natural disasters
- Political instability
The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.
Many myths and misconceptions exist. Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Not all indicators listed are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.
The safety of the public as well as the victim is important. Do not attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to any suspicions. It is up to law enforcement to investigate suspected cases of human trafficking.
Visit the links below to learn more about human trafficking and how you can protect yourself and others:
- Forced labor
- Identify a Victim
- Myths & Misconceptions
- Exploitation & How to Protect Yourself
Please help us bring this crime out of the shadows by sharing these resources with your community and networks.
Recognize and report human trafficking:
- To report suspected trafficking to federal law enforcement, call 1-866-347-2423 or submit a tip online at www.ice.gov/tips.
- Get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline by calling 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to 233733 (BEFREE).
- Call 911 or local law enforcement if someone is in immediate danger.
Steps you can take to stop human trafficking:
- Visit the Blue Campaign website to learn more about the indicators of human trafficking: DHS.gov/BlueCampaign.
- Use Blue Campaign materials to raise awareness of human trafficking in your community.
- Follow @DHSBlueCampaign on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
If you SEE something, SAY something!
Anyone can join in the fight against human trafficking. Here are 20 ideas to consider.
- Learn the indicators of human trafficking on the TIP Office’s website or by taking a training. Human trafficking awareness training is available for individuals, businesses, first responders, law enforcement, educators, and federal employees, among others.
- If you are in the United States and believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or report an emergency to law enforcement by calling 911. Trafficking victims, whether or not U.S. citizens, are eligible for services and immigration assistance.
- Be a conscientious and informed consumer. Find out more about who may have picked your tomatoes or made your clothes at ResponsibleSourcingTool.org , or check out the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor . Encourage companies to take steps to prevent human trafficking in their supply chains and publish the information, including supplier or factory lists, for consumer awareness.
- Volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts in your community .
- Meet with and/or write to your local, state, and federal elected officials to let them know you care about combating human trafficking and ask what they are doing to address it.
- Be well-informed. Set up a web alert to receive current human trafficking news. Also, check out CNN’s Freedom Project for more stories on the different forms of human trafficking around the world.
- Host an awareness-raising event to watch and discuss films about human trafficking. For example, learn how modern slavery exists today; watch an investigative documentary about sex trafficking; or discover how forced labor can affect global food supply chains. Alternatively, contact your local library and ask for assistance identifying an appropriate book and ask them to host the event.
- Organize a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization .
- Encourage your local schools or school district to include human trafficking in their curricula and to develop protocols for identifying and reporting a suspected case of human trafficking or responding to a potential victim.
- Use your social media platforms to raise awareness about human trafficking, using the following hashtags: #endtrafficking, #freedomfirst.
- Think about whether your workplace is trauma-informed and reach out to management or the Human Resources team to urge implementation of trauma-informed business practices .
- Become a mentor to a young person or someone in need. Traffickers often target people who are going through a difficult time or who lack strong support systems. As a mentor, you can be involved in new and positive experiences in that person’s life during a formative time.
- Parents and Caregivers: Learn how human traffickers often target and recruit youth and who to turn to for help in potentially dangerous situations. Host community conversations with parent teacher associations, law enforcement, schools, and community members regarding safeguarding children in your community.
- Youth: Learn how to recognize traffickers’ recruitment tactics , how to safely navigate out of a suspicious or uncomfortable situations, and how to reach out for help at any time.
- Faith-Based Communities : Host awareness events and community forums with anti-trafficking leaders or collectively support a local victim service provider.
- Businesses: Provide jobs, internships, skills training, and other opportunities to trafficking survivors. Take steps to investigate and prevent trafficking in your supply chains by consulting the Responsible Sourcing Tool and Comply Chain to develop effective management systems to detect, prevent, and combat human trafficking.
- College Students: Take action on your campus. Join or establish a university club to raise awareness about human trafficking and initiate action throughout your local community. Consider doing one of your research papers on a topic concerning human trafficking. Request that human trafficking be included in university curricula.
- Health Care Providers: Learn how to identify the indicators of human trafficking and assist victims. With assistance from local anti-trafficking organizations, extend low-cost or free services to human trafficking victims. Resources from the Department of Health and Human Services can be found on their website.
- Journalists: The media plays an enormous role in shaping perceptions and guiding the public conversation about human trafficking. Seek out some media best practices on how to effectively and responsibly report stories on human trafficking.
- Attorneys: Offer human trafficking victims legal services, including support for those seeking benefits or special immigration status. Resources are available for attorneys representing victims of human trafficking.
Toolkits & Resources
Federal Housing & Homelessness Programs for Human Trafficking Survivors
• Housing and shelter are often the top needs for people who have left and are attempting to leave human trafficking or other exploitative situations. Learn how you can #Partner2Prevent human trafficking by addressing this critical need. acf.hhs.gov/otip/toolkit/housing-economic-mobility-trafficking-survivors
Voices of Freedom
• Friends and colleagues Nathan Earl and Shanika Ampah share their individual stories of being trafficked and discuss the importance of addressing the root causes of human trafficking. youtube.com/watch?v=pl6ujAxBE54
• Jess Torres talks with their friend, colleague, and mentor, Dr. Susie Baldwin, about their work in anti- trafficking and the vision they have for how the work should evolve. youtube.com/watch?v=Mh0bGGBdrdE
• Lisa Williams tells her friend and colleague Dr. Sharon Cooper about how she became an advocate for women and girls and what she believes will be necessary to eradicate human trafficking. youtube.com/watch?v=221iAbMJWPI