How you can help stop child trafficking!

Now more than ever, children need your protection from predatory criminals who turn the vulnerability and desperation of their victims into big business. Human trafficking — the buying and selling of people for exploitative purposes — is on the rise according to a new study of 142 countries just released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

"Human trafficking has taken on horrific dimensions as armed groups and terrorists use it to spread fear and gain victims to offer as incentives to recruit new fighters," says Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC,  citing child soldiers, forced labour and sexual slavery as examples.

Though it’s not clear how improvements in detection, recording and reporting methods have contributed to the rise, the conditions that put children at risk are clear. Turning war, political corruption, poverty and natural disasters to their advantage, traffickers are now generating approximately $39 billion annually upon the exploitation of children alone.

Whether it is the trafficking of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, the exploitation of Central American migrants bound for the United States, the sexual enslavement of women and girls in Europe, or the forced labor of sub-Saharan Africans or refugees from the Middle East, desperate families and individuals often feel they have little choice but to risk exploitation in an effort to survive.

Crippling poverty and prolonged drought in their native Somalia, made Nadira Mohammed’s sister susceptible to traffickers' lure. Feeling she had no options at home, Nadira’s sister (whose name is being withheld for her protection) took traffickers up on their offer of free passage to Europe and a better life. That was the last Nadira and her family heard from the young woman, although her traffickers remain in contact, having already extorted hundreds of dollars from Nadira’s mother. None of that has deterred Nadira, who’s 14, from her plan to follow in her sister’s footsteps.

How can we stop child and human trafficking?

Build Community: In the U.S., January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month; however, you can get active to raise awareness of violence and exploitation year round. Visit our resources page to learn more about the issues and how you can get active to end trafficking in your community. Below are some ideas for how you can get started today:

Speak Out: Study up on the root causes of trafficking and spread the word using the hashtag #EndTrafficking and tagging @UNICEFUSA.

Advocate: Let your elected officials know that trafficking is an issue that matters to you. Send a letter by texting SURVIVORS to 52886 or visiting the UNICEF USA Action Center at

Host an Event or Fundraiser: Planning an event or fundraiser is a great opportunity to raise awareness or funds for UNICEF’s child protection work. The UNICEF UNITE team can help you identify potential collaborators to help with planning, sponsorship and implementation. Make sure to register all events with UNICEF USA at: and take photos to share, tagging @UNICEFUSA on social or by emailing: For more event planning tips, check out the End Trafficking Toolkit.

Build Community: UNICEF UNITE is UNICEF USA's grassroots movement, composed of volunteer-led and staff-supported local teams across the country advocating or taking action day in and day out to put children first. Become a UNITER today by visiting

What should you do if you suspect human trafficking?

If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, the National Human Trafficking Hotline is your best resource. Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888: Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocates are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking.

Text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 233733.

Chat the National Human Trafficking Hotline via

Submit a tip online through the anonymous online reporting form below.

The information you provide will be reviewed by the National Hotline. All reports are confidential and you may remain anonymous. Interpreters are available via phone call only.

Report missing children or child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678) or through Cybertipline.