Human trafficking is a serious problem in the United States. Children and adults, both men and women, can be vulnerable to trafficking, which can include slave labor, the sex trade, very low-paying jobs, and other dangerous situations that can be difficult to escape. Often, we may think of human trafficking and child sex trafficking as problems prominent only outside of the U.S., but the issue persists there today.
In 2014, the National Human Trafficking Resource Hotline received reports of 3,598 sex trafficking cases. Also in 2014, it was estimated that one in six runaway minors reported to the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children were believed to be the victims of sex trafficking. These statistics are frightening, but there are several organizations working to end the trafficking of adults and children alike. From hotlines to safe houses, hardworking groups are providing hope for thousands of victims every year. Here are some organizations to consider supporting if you want to help battle sex trafficking.
Ark Of Hope For Children
Ark of Hope for Children seeks to assist children who are victims of human trafficking, child abuse, and bullying. The organization runs a temporary safe house for victims of human trafficking, and also provides support services, such as hotlines and live chats, for victims in need of immediate assistance and support. You can donate to the Ark, and learn about their various volunteering and fundraising opportunities, on their website.
Polaris works to fight human trafficking in the U.S. and around the world. They run the National Human Trafficking Resource Hotline, a 24-hour-a-day call-in resource for victims and those who feel that they have found people who may be victims. They work on policy advocacy for human trafficking victims and survivors, and create extensive data analysis and reports. You can financially support Polaris through their website's donation page.
UNICEF's End Trafficking Program
Among its various humanitarian programs, UNICEF has efforts specifically aiming to protect children from exploitation. Through the End Trafficking program, UNICEF provides resources to the public so that we can all recognize the signs that a child is being exploited, and know where to reach out so that victims can receive expedient assistance and care. The End Trafficking program is also currently supporting legislation that would protect runaway and homeless youth from trafficking. UNICEF has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, a group that monitors and scores not-for-profits on their use of funds. You can support their work for children affected by human trafficking through their website.