A boy covers his face after going through a trafficking ordeal. He waits to be reunited with his family at a safe place.

Child victims of trafficking are recruited, transported, transferred, harbored or received for the purpose of exploitation. They may be forced to work in sweatshops, on construction sites or in houses as domestic servants; on the streets as child beggars, in wars as child soldiers, on farms, in traveling sales crews or in restaurants and hotels. Some are forced to work in brothels and strip clubs or for escort and massage services.

Putting a stop to all forms of child trafficking is critical to UNICEF's work.

Child Trafficking in the U.S.

Trafficking is not just an issue that happens to people in other countries. The United States is a source and transit country, and is also considered one of the top destination points for victims of child trafficking and exploitation. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 U.S. States; anyone can be trafficked regardless of race, class, education, gender, age, or citizenship when forcefully coerced or enticed by false promises.

UNICEF's Work in Child Protection

To protect children from exploitation, risk factors such as poverty and discrimination need to be addressed. UNICEF's efforts in countries around the world include:

  • Helping to provide a living wage for parents so that their children do not have to work to support the family and can attend school instead;
  • Lobbying governments and other partners to develop laws and strengthen child protection systems to prevent and respond to violence and abuse;
  • Working with communities and faith-based organizations to change harmful societal norms that make children more vulnerable to exploitation; and
  • Supporting the training of professionals working with children including social workers, health workers and police and border officials to help stop trafficking.

How you can help prevent child and human trafficking

Download UNICEF USA’s End Trafficking Tool Kit: In the U.S., January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month — also known as End Trafficking Month (ETM) here at UNICEF USA. To join the conversation and take meaningful action, explore UNICEF USA's End Trafficking Tool Kit, which offers loads of information and ways you can fight trafficking in January and throughout the year.

Speak Out: Study up on the root causes of trafficking and spread the word using the hashtags #DemandChange and #Endtrafficking. Share this article or create your own messaging using the UNICEF USA Social Press Kit. Don’t forget to tag @EndTraffick

Advocate: Let your mayor or member of congress know that trafficking is an issue that matters. Join UNICEF USA in sending an email to your local elected officials urging them to keep trafficking and its victims top of mind. The End Trafficking Tool Kit also offers draft letters you can send or customize 

Host an Event or Fundraiser: Raise awareness or funds for UNICEF’s child protection work. The UNICEF UNITE team can offer planning, sponsorship and implementation advice. Make sure to register all events with UNICEF USA at unicefusa.org/submit-your-event-application or by emailing  endtrafficking@unicefusa.org 

The End Trafficking Project

The End Trafficking project is the UNICEF USA’s initiative to raise awareness about child trafficking and mobilize communities to take meaningful action to help protect children. In partnership with concerned individuals and groups, the End Trafficking project aims to stop all exploitation.