A day after Congress passed the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017, (see article—The new U.S. anti-trafficking law, passed in Congress on December 17, says when federal employees travel they should choose travel and hospitality companies that follow the six points of the ECPAT Code of Conduct), Polaris reported that the number of cases of human trafficking reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline are projected to jump at least 25 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. This is based on early numbers released by Polaris, which has been operating the National Hotline for 11 years. The increase means the Hotline is on track to handle more than 11,000 cases of human trafficking across 2018—the largest number of annual cases to date.
From January to September 2018, the National Hotline addressed about 8,700 cases of reported human trafficking, compared to nearly 7,000 over the first three quarters of 2017. Data for the entirety of 2018, including data for all 50 states and D.C. will be released in the spring.
“The significant increase in cases we’re handling this year is a reflection of the more targeted and better-informed efforts to raise awareness about true nature of human trafficking in the United States,” said Caroline Diemar, Director of the National Human Trafficking Hotline. “We’re also reaching more survivors more effectively. Through new text and chat services that allow discreet communication through their phones, survivors are creating safety plans with our Hotline Advocates and getting connected to help more than ever before.”
Trafficking Hotline Background
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is a 24/7, confidential, and multilingual lifeline that provides support and a variety of options for survivors of human trafficking to get connected to help and stay safe. Through a network of nearly 4,000 partner service providers and trusted law enforcement, trained Hotline Advocates take tips of suspected human trafficking from community members and help survivors build plans, so they can safely leave their situations or get the help they need to rebuild their lives. The National Hotline can communicate via phone in more than 200 languages through a translation service, as well as text, chat, e-mail, and webform in English and Spanish. The National Hotline is operated by Polaris and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other donors.
Polaris emphasizes that the data released are not intended to represent the full scope of human trafficking, but rather the incoming communications received only through the National Human Trafficking Hotline.