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Human Trafficking Awareness

What is human trafficking?

The use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.

Traffickers look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters or 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.

Human trafficking is modern day slavery with victims in all 50 states.

  • More than 50% of human trafficking cases in the U.S. are sex trafficking involving children (more than 4.5 milion) with the average age of 12-14 years old.
  • Traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation.
  • You can help combat human trafficking. Recognizing the signs is the first step to identifying a victim. Join the DHS Blue Campaign, "One Voice, One Mission. End Human Trafficking."
 

Key Indicators

Recognizing key indicators is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life.

Here are some common indicators to help recognize human trafficking:

  • Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations or houses of worship?
  • Has a child stopped attending school?
  • Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
  • Is the person fearful, timid or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation (e.g., where they go or who they talk to)?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?
 

Available Resources


The DHS Blue campaign offers a variety of resources available for the public to help end human trafficking, including:

  • A document library
  • Blue campaign materials
  • Awareness training 
  • Awareness videos