January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. This month is dedicated to raising awareness about different forms of human trafficking, ways to support trafficking survivors, and educating the community about the issue so that people are equipped to notice potential trafficking situations and report them to their local law enforcement.
Human trafficking is a largely hidden crime involving one or more people exploiting another person for labor, services, or commercial sex. The trafficker uses force or violence, fraud or false promises, or coercion and manipulation to lure victims and exploit them through physical, financial, or psychological means. There is no profile of a trafficked person – trafficking affects people from all economic classes, racial and ethnic identities, gender identities, and sexual orientations, and both adults and children can be trafficked. However, human trafficking disproportionately impacts Native American, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ communities.
When anything of value is exchanged for sex with a person under 18, it constitutes commercial sexual abuse of a minor. DCYF’s Commercially Sexually Exploited Children regional leads and Missing and Exploited Youth (MEY) program support Child Protective Services in investigations of trafficking in minors and the many youth in Child Welfare and Juvenile Rehabilitation facilities who are survivors of abuse and trafficking. On behalf of these young people and individuals worldwide, we encourage you to educate yourself and increase awareness of exploitation and trafficking in your communities and improve systems that provide services for youth at risk. Here are a few resources to help you get started:
- Understanding Human Trafficking
- 20 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking
- Spot the Signs of Human Trafficking
- The U.S. Government’s Response to Combating Human Trafficking
- Human Trafficking Action Research Toolkit
- Washington Trafficking Help
- Combating Human Trafficking in Native Communities
Additionally, Tuesday, Jan. 11, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Join community members across the nation to raise awareness and show support by wearing the color blue on this day – the color for human trafficking prevention. You can also spread awareness on social media by posting a photo of you wearing blue or sharing resources. Be sure to use the hashtags #wearblueday, #endhumantrafficking, and #DCYFsupports.
Through National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we must each recommit to do our part to prevent human trafficking through education and awareness and protect survivors through safe response.