Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people — including children — for exploitation or commercial gain.
A HIDDEN CRIME
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that human trafficking is a $32 billion per year industry, second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime.
Human trafficking is a hidden crime, as victims rarely come forward to seek help because of language barriers, fear of the traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement.
Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. They look for people who are vulnerable for a variety of reasons, including economic hardship, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.
According to National PTA, at least 200,000 children across the United States are estimated to be victims of domestic trafficking.
REPORT CHILD TRAFFICKING
- If a child is in urgent need of assistance, contact law enforcement or child protective services to report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child. The Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline professional crisis counselors can connect a caller with a local number to report abuse. Contact Childhelp at 1.800.4.A.CHILD. (1.800.422.4453).
- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) aims to prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation; help find missing children; and assist victims of child abduction and sexual exploitation, their families, and the professionals who serve them. Contact NCMEC at 1.800.THE.LOST (1.800.843.5678).
- The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) operates a hotline 24 hours a day, every day. The NHTRC will help callers identify and coordinate with local organizations that protect and serve victims of trafficking. Contact the NHTRC at 1.888.373.7888.
TAKING A STAND
California State PTA urges its units, councils, and districts to promote programs that increase awareness of the prevalence of child trafficking in California. For more on our stand against child trafficking, review our resolution.