1,600 survivors reached out for help in U.S. in 2015, a 24 percent increase over 2014; 519 percent increase in cases handled nationwide since 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 28, 2016) – Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and restore freedom to survivors, released 2015 data from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline today. In 2015, 22 cases of human trafficking were reported to the NHTRC from Utah, which included 15 cases of sex trafficking and 3 cases of labor trafficking. In 2014, 22 human trafficking cases were reported. Since 2007, the NHTRC has received reports of 89 cases of human trafficking in Utah.
In 2015, 5,973 cases of human trafficking were reported in the United States and overseas to the NHTRC and Polaris’s BeFree Textline. A total of 1,636 survivors of sex and labor trafficking reached out to the hotlines, a 24 percent increase over 2014. The hotlines identified thousands more potential victims through the calls of friends, family members, service providers, community members, and others. In total, 25,696 cases of human trafficking have been reported through the NHTRC and Polaris’s BeFree Textline since December 2007, establishing the largest data set on human trafficking in the U.S.
Case and call data from the NHTRC for all 50 states and D.C. is available at http://www.traffickingresourcecenter.org/statistics.
“From the domestic servant forced to work for little pay who required emergency shelter to the young girl made to sell sex online against her will who texted us for crisis support, survivors of human trafficking are reaching out to the national hotline more than ever,” said Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris. “The national human trafficking hotline is a lifeline for victims of modern slavery in America. More survivors calling the national hotline means more women, children, and men are being connected to life-changing support through the incredible work of more than 3,000 service provider partners across the country.”
A groundbreaking report from Northeastern University funded by the National Institute of Justice was published on January 25th and found that requiring the NHTRC number to be posted in public areas was the most effective way to increase the number of human trafficking arrests. The NHTRC has provided over 6,500 tips to law enforcement since 2007, including more than 1,400 in 2015, and does so with the consent of the caller or when required by law. Click here to read the Northeastern report.
Notable in the national 2015 data is a significant increase in the number of survivors who reached out for help. While the NHTRC and BeFree hotlines serve a variety of individuals, the primary goal is to reach as many victims and survivors as possible to ensure they can be connected to help if they want it. In 2015, the NHTRC and BeFree Textline were contacted by 1,636 survivors through more than 4,089 signals (calls, texts, emails, and webforms). In 2014, 1,322 survivors contacted the hotlines through 3,112 signals. This represents a 24 percent increase in individual survivors who reached out from 2014 to 2015, as well as a 31 percent increase in signals from survivors.
Also of note is a 10 percent increase in total reported cases to the NHTRC since 2014, with a 15 percent increase in reported sex trafficking cases. While the cases of labor trafficking reported to the NHTRC decreased from 818 in 2014 to 721 in 2015, Polaris largely attributes this decline to a chronic and critical lack of awareness of labor trafficking within the United States.
Key 2015 data for the United States at the national level includes:
Polaris emphasizes that the data are not intended to represent the full scope of human trafficking, but rather from incoming communications received through the NHTRC and Polaris’s BeFree Textline. Breakdowns of case data are non-cumulative. Cases may involve multiple victims and callers do not always provide specific demographic information.
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a 24-hour, confidential, multi-modal hotline serving the United States and U.S. territories. Experienced hotline specialists provide around-the-clock crisis support and connect human trafficking victims and survivors to shelter, counseling, legal aid, and other life-saving resources where available. The hotline also receives tips of suspected human trafficking cases and equips the anti-trafficking community with the tools to effectively combat all forms of human trafficking. The NHTRC is operated by Polaris and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other private donors. Polaris launched its BeFree Textline in 2013 to offer the same services via text. Currently, the BeFree Textline operates from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. EST.
People can receive help or report a tip of suspected human trafficking by calling the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888 or by sending a text to Polaris at “BeFree” (233733).