Guide: Raising awareness on human trafficking

January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Sandrina Rodrigues

Jan 11, 2024, 9:30 AM

Updated 185 days ago


January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. 
The month is dedicated to raise awareness about human trafficking and to educate the public about how to identify and prevent this crime. 
The U.S. Department of State raises awareness of human trafficking domestically and abroad, through U.S. embassies and consulates.
Below is some information on how to identify human trafficking and prevent the crime:


Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, includes both forced labor and sex trafficking. It not only represents a threat to international peace and security, but also undermines the rule of law, robs millions of their dignity and freedom, enriches transnational criminals and terrorists, and threatens public safety and national security everywhere.
According to the U.S. Department of State, there are estimated to be more than 27.6 million people — adults and children — subjected to human trafficking around the world, including in the United States. 


If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking you can get help by contacting the National Human Trafficking Hotline. 
Phone: 1 (888) 373-7888
SMS: 233733 (Text "HELP" or "INFO")
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Languages: English, Spanish and 200 more languages


The following scenarios might be red flags for relationships or jobs that may develop into human trafficking. One or more of these may indicate that an individual is at-risk for sex or labor trafficking. This list, from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, is not exhaustive.
The intimate partner or employer: 
Comes on very strongly and promises things that seem too good to be true – i.e. promises extremely high wages for easy work.  
Expects that you will agree to the employment or relationship on the spot, and threatens that otherwise the opportunity will be lost.
Is unclear about the terms of employment, location of employment and/or the company details/credentials. Partner/employer denies access to information about your rights.
Denies contact with friends or family or attempts to isolate you from your social network.  
Constantly checks on you and does not allow you access to your money.
Asks you to do things outside of your comfort zone such as performing sexual favors for friends.
Displays signs/characteristics of a dangerous person including: attempts to control movement and behaviors, exhibits jealousy, lashes out or delivers punishment in response to noncompliance, is verbally/emotionally/physically abusive.
Uses threats or displays of violence to create a culture of fear.
For more safety tips CLICK HERE.


When communicating with someone in a dangerous or potential trafficking situation:
Recognize that the person in the situation knows their situation best, and it is necessary to honor their requests to ensure their safety.
Maintain open and nonjudgmental communication, ensuring they know they can reach out at any time, and end the call when they need to.
Try to speak in person if possible.
If that is not possible, try to speak on the phone first [rather than via text or social media messaging] and ask if the person is alone, and then use yes/no questions until they indicate it is safe to communicate more freely.
If they are alone, try to establish safety words: one word to indicate it is safe to talk/the person is alone [for future communications] and one to indicate it is no longer safe to talk and what the person in the situation would like done [cease communication immediately/contact law enforcement/etc.]
Try to learn more about safety concerns.
Try to learn more about their needs/wishes moving forward [reporting, shelter, counseling, legal services, etc.]

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