January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and there are several organizations in the United States that are actively saving and healing survivors of human trafficking and sex trafficking every day. Often described as a form of modern-day slavery, traffickers coerce, kidnap or force adults, minors, males, females and transgender individuals, to perform commercial sex acts or labor.
Runaway youth are especially vulnerable to human traffickers because traffickers can provide necessities not easily available on the street. Traffickers give shelter, food, and attention to youth that may be living on the streets. The trafficker will then recruit the youth into prostitution or other criminal activities.
One of the crucial resources for victims and those who are trying to break free from their captors is the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH).
The Polaris Project, a global leader in the fight against modern slavery, operates the hotline.
This 24-hour hotline is available nationwide to those in crisis, in 200 languages via an interpreting service. The service is also accessible by email, text, chat and by tip reporting form. This confidential service connects individuals to agencies and support through the NHTH referral network and facilitates the reporting of crimes to law enforcement. Other services include case management, shelter, legal services, mental health, and counseling.
Their mission statement:
“Our mission is to provide human trafficking victims and survivors with access to critical support and services to get help and stay safe, and to equip the anti-trafficking community with the tools to effectively combat all forms of human trafficking.”
Their website also features statistics regarding human trafficking cases reported to NHTH.
- According to the NHTH website, 26,270 cases of human trafficking have been reported through the website since 2010.
- In 2017, a total of 13,897 calls were received through the website.
- Half of the number of the total cases reported in 2017 (4,460) involved minors.
- 71% of the cases reported to NHTH involved sex trafficking.
- 2016 saw the highest amount of calls received regarding human trafficking cases in five years, at 26,727.
These statistics show the increase in attention towards human trafficking and related issues. They indicate the increase in the willingness of victims and community members to seek out help. It also indicates that traffickers target youth and youth are the primary victims of human trafficking.
NHTH also offers resources for those unfamiliar with the issues around human trafficking, service providers, and law enforcement. Anyone can find training materials, fact sheets, and reports, all available for download, created by organizations like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The NHTH referral directory is available to anyone who is need of crisis services, including shelters, case management, legal services, healthcare and more. This directory is searchable by location, gender, nationality, age and type of trafficking that occurred.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline, a key resource in NRS’ database, is a vital source of support for those who are trying to escape or recover from human traffickers and human trafficking. This month, NRS encourages everyone to learn more about this issue in society and what you can do to support agencies like this.